Skip to main content

Full text of "Masterpieces of E. D. Baker;"

See other formats

-A stfttftdj^j^) 




A Bequest from 
Marion D. Pratt 



/P .Q 

frfa^T^f ^ 

U ^ i 

(SEE PAGE 244) 


No. I. 

of <& JD. Bafcer 





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1899, by 


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, 
at Washington. 

The Mnrdock Presi 
San Francisco 


South Beach, Connecticut. 
Kind Sir: 

BAKER was speaking on the Atlantic 
seaboard when he pointed across a hemisphere, back 
to the far Pacific, where his notes were yet rever- 
berating, and modestly said that his voice was 
feebler than the feeblest murmur upon our shore.* 

Near where he stood then, you have long rested 
on the Atlantic border, after an active business 
career on this far strand. If the clear call of our 
ORATOR did not swell above the sound of the sea, 
it yet touched the bounds of the continent, and is 
resonant still; and you, are of that mass, now wide 
dispersed, early gathered by the Golden Gate, who 
hear even now its "echoes roll from soul to soul." 
Our great city, whose busy streets you walked a 
busy man so long ago and some of whose cherished 
institutions have lately quickened at your touch- 
acknowledges your affectionate remembrance, and 
gives you greeting from afar. 

Remote, now, from our occidental life, you keep 
alive an exceptional concern for all that contributes 
to our well-being, and you have a special, impre- 
scriptible interest in the riches of our intellectual 
*See pase 238. 

heritage. You will love this book. I count myselj 
happy in being able to lay it under your eye; and 1 
do so, recognizing you as one to whom our friend's 
fame is dear, and in the hope that your honored 
name may be associated with his through coming 


I am, Sincerely, 

Your Obliged Friend, and 

Obedient Servant, 

San Francisco, August 1, 1899. 


WHETHER at the bar, or "beside the bier, 
in the lecture hall, or on the stump, at 
public festival, or in solemn debate Baker 
spoke for Man. Freedom and Glory were 
the constant theme of this free and glorious 
spirit; we shall have a glimpse of him, how- 
ever, invested with even a deeper concern 
at the dedication of Lone Mountain Ceme- 
tery. His many arguments and speeches 
during a long career as a lawyer, or advo- 
cate, with some exceptions, lost their interest 
as the occasion passed. The most notable of 
these exceptions the defense of Cora 
has its place in this volume. As a lecturer, 
his best productions are lost; that is, he did 
not write them, and they were not report- 
ed: as The Sea, The Plurality of Worlds, 
Socrates, Books. His efforts of chief excel- 
lence, however, and perhaps on broader and 
higher platforms, were fortunately commit- 
ted to type; and while these comprise but a 
small part of his life-work, they are yet a 


great deal in themselves, and are precious. 
Like all the emanations of this gratifying 
and satisfying mind, they cast no lurid light 
they are entirely untainted by anything 
morbid, or moody, or cynical. Healthful, 
hopeful, virile, prophetic, their tuition is 
true, and ever their burden is the advance- 
ment of his countrymen and his kind. Their 
perpetual influence must be salutary. It 
is well that his ideals, gathered now and 
gathered forever, should unite their beauty 
before the century closes that will mark his 
place in history. 

The speeches in this Volume are given in 
full, except that about one fourth of the 
Reply to Benjamin is omitted, on account of 
its great length ; and from the Defense of 
Cora much of the analysis of the evidence 
of witnesses has been eliminated. 

Since BAKER performed his noble part, 
the fast-hastening years have brought their 
many contrasted characters on the scene, to 
diversify Time's drama on our western 
shore, but he is SOVEREIGN. That tragic 
hour is far off now when he went to his 
worthy rest among the great men who are 


sleeping in the crypt of FAME but his 
spirit will kindle the hearts of men as long 
as LONE MOUNTAIN shall guard his grave, or 
Shasta and Whitney look down upon the 
landscapes that he loved. 











DEATH OF BAKER His FAMILY . . 273-282 

POEM BY BAKER 283-284 



London, England, February 24, 1811. 
His father was a man of education and 
literary tastes, and brought his family to 
America, settling in Philadelphia, when 
Edward was about five years old. The 
father taught school and apprenticed the 
boy at a suitable age to a weaver. In 
1825 the family moved to Indiana, and, 
a year or so later, to Illinois. The son 
had no taste for systematic study, but 
possessed a passion for books. Going 
to St. Louis in early manhood, he drove 
a dray for one season ; then returning to 
Illinois, he began the study of law, and, 
after a year had passed, he obtained a 
license and began practice. In 1831, he 
seriously thought of entering the ministry 
of the Reformed (or Christian) Church. 

Introductory Notice. 

In the spring of '32 he enlisted in the 
Black Hawk (Indian) War and served to 
its close, obtaining a major's commission. 
He first won celebrity as a speaker by 
his oration at the laying of the corner- 
stone of the old State House in Spring- 
field, 111., July 4, 1837. In that year he 
was elected to the lower branch of the 
State Legislature, as a Whig, and was 
re-elected. In 1840, he " took the stump " 
for Harrison for President; was a State 
Senator, 1841-44. In the fall of '44, 
he was elected to the National House of 
Representatives from the Springfield dis- 
trict. When the Mexican War broke out 
he, without resigning his seat in the 
House, hastened home, obtained a col- 
onel's commission and raised a regiment, 
which he led into the field. He was one 
of the comparatively few Northern Whigs 
who favored the war with Mexico. At 

Introductory Notice. 

its close his State presented him with 
a sword. In '49 he was returned to Con- 
gress. In 1852 he removed to Califor- 
nia, locating in San Francisco. Here he 
won great fame as a lawyer, lecturer, and 
political speaker, but not many of his 
speeches are preserved. In 1859 he ran 
for Congress on the Kepublican ticket 
but was defeated. Within a year there- 
after he had removed to Oregon and 
was a Senator of the United States. The 
War of the Kebellion breaking out, he 
again took the field and went as a 
colonel into this, his third, warfare with 
characteristic enthusiasm. In July, 1861, 
he was appointed and confirmed a briga- 
dier-general of volunteers. At his first 
encounter in that great conflict he fell, 
in his fifty-first year, October 21, 1861. 
After his death a commission as major- 
general of volunteers was issued in his 

Introductory Notice. 

name. His remains were brought to 
San Francisco and laid in Lone Moun- 
tain Cemetery, among the people who 
had enjoyed the flower of his renown. 
His career is the subject of the first 
NIA. Edward Stanly's oration at his 
burial may be found in REPRESENTATIVE 
MEN OF THE PACIFIC, together with the 
address of Thos. Starr King. 

Baker's picturesque career, as inter- 
woven with great events, is further 
touched upon in appropriate order in 
the pages to follow. 


The most poetic utterance of Baker's life was his 
address delivered in San Francisco on September 27, 1858, 
at the public commemoration of the laying of the Atlantic 
Telegraph. This immortal production is also, in the judg- 
ment of many, both more thoughtful and more ornate 
than even his celebrated Broderick oration. It contains 
the memorable apostrophe to science, and the happy 
allusion to the comet of that time. It is perennial. The 
words near the clo<e, ' We stand ... at the entrance 
to a more imperial dominion," seem to express, after the 
lapse of forty years, a new and larger prophecy. 


AMID the general joy that thrills 
throughout the civilized world, we are 
here to bear our part. The great enter- 
prise of the age has been accomplished. 
Thought has bridged the Atlantic, and 
cleaves its unfettered path across the sea, 
winged by the lightning and guarded 
by the billow. Though remote from the 
shores that first witnessed the deed, we 
feel the impulse and swell the paean ; for, 
as in the frame of man, the nervous sensi- 
bility is greatest at the extremity of the 
body, so we, distant dwellers on the 
Pacific coast, feel yet more keenly than 
the communities at the centers of civili- 
zation, the greatness of the present suc- 
cess, and the splendor of the advancing 

The transmission of intelligence by 
electric forces is perhaps the most striking 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

of all the manifestations of human power 
in compelling the elements to the service 
of man. The history of the discovery 
is a monument to the sagacity, the prac- 
tical observation, the inductive power of 
the men whose names are now immortal. 
The application to the uses of mankind 
is scarcely less wonderful, and the late 
extension across a vast ocean ranks its 
projectors and accomplishers with the 
benefactors of their race. We repeat 
here to-day the names of Franklin, and 
Morse, and Field. We echo the senti- 
ments of generous pride, most felt in 
the commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 
the associated glory of her sons. But we 
know that this renown will spread where- 
ever their deeds shall bless their kind; 
that, like their works, it will extend be- 
yond ocean and deserts, and remain to 
latest generations. 

The history of the Atlantic Telegraph 
is fortunately familiar to most of this 
auditory. For more than a hundred 


The Atlantic Cable Address. 

years it has been known that the velocity 
of electricity was nearly instantaneous. 
It was found that the electricity of the 
clouds was identical with that produced 
by electric excitation ; next followed the 
means- for its creation, and the mech- 
anism of transmission. Its concentration 
was found in the corrosion of metals 
in acids, and the use of the voltaic pile ; 
its transmission was completed by Morse 
in 1843, and it was reserved to Field to 
guide it across the Atlantic. Here, as 
in all other scientific results, you find 
the wonder-working power of observa- 
tion and induction ; and nowhere in the 
history of man is the power of Art 
action directed by Science knowledge 
systematized so signally and beauti- 
fully obvious. I leave to the gifted 
friend who will follow me, in his pecu- 
liar department, the appropriate descrip- 
tion of the wonders of the deep seaway; 
of the silent shores beneath; of sunless 
caverns and submarine plains. It is for 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

others to describe the solitudes of the 

nether deep. Yet who is there whose 
imagination does not kindle at the idea 
that every thought which springs along 
the wires vibrates in those palaces of 
the ocean where the light fails to pene- 
trate and the billows never roll ? 
/ From those dark, unfathomed caves the 
pearl that heaves upon the breast of 
beauty is dragged to the glare of day. 
There the unburied dead lie waiting for 
the resurrection morning, while above 
them the winds wail their perpetual re- 
quiem ; there the lost treasures of India 
and Peru are forever hid; there the 
wrecks of the Armada and Trafalgar 
are forever whelmed. 

What flags and what trophies are floating 

In the shadowy depths of the silent sea ? * 

But amid these scattered relics of the 
buried past, over shell-formed shores 

A quotation from his own poem to be found in this 


The Atlantic Cable Address. 

and wave -worn crags, the gleaming 
thought darts its way. Amid the mon- 
sters of the deep, amid the sporting 
myriads and countless armies of the sea, 
the single link that unites two worlds 
conveys the mandate of a king or the 
message of a lover. Of old, the Greek 
loved to believe that Neptune ruled the 
ocean and stretched his trident over the 
remotest surge. The fiction has become 
reality; but man is the monarch of the 
wave, and his trident is a single wire ! 

The scene in which we each bear a 
part to-day is one peculiar, it is true, 
to the event which we celebrate ; but 
it is also very remarkable in many and 
varied aspects. 

Never before has there been on the 
Pacific coast such an expression of popu- 
lar delight. We celebrate the birthday of 
our nation with signal rejoicing; but vast 
numbers who are here to-day can find 
no place in its processions, and perhaps 
wonder at its enthusiasm; we celebrate 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

great victories which give new names to 
our history and new stars to our ban- 
ner, these are but national triumphs; 
but to-day the joy is universal; the pro- 
cession represents the world all creeds, 
all races, all languages are here ; every 
vocation of civilized life mingles in the 
shout and welcomes the deed. The min- 
ister of religion sees the Bow of Promise 
reflected under the sea, which speaks of 
universal peace ; the statesman perceives 
another lengthening avenue for the march 
of free principles; the magistrate here 
can see new guards to the rights of so- 
ciety and property, and a wide field for 
the sway of international law ; the poet 
kindles at the dream of a great republic 
of letters tending toward a universal 
language ; and the seer of science finds 
a pledge that individual enterprise may 
yet embody his discoveries in beneficent 
and world-wide action. 

The mechanic walks with a freer step 
and a more conscious port, for it is his 

The Atlantic Cable Address. 

skill which has overcome the raging sea 
and the stormy shore ; and labor toil- 
stained and sun-browned labor claims 
the triumph as his own in a twofold right. 
First, because without patient, enduring 
toil, there could be neither discovery, 
invention, application, or extension; and 
again, because whatever spreads the bless- 
ings of peace and knowledge, comes home 
to his hearth and heart. 

Surrounded then, as I am, by the rep- 
resentatives of all civilized nations, let 
me express some of the thoughts that are 
struggling for utterance upon your lips 
as you contemplate the great event of 
the century. Our first conviction is that 
the resources of the human mind and 
the energies of the human will are illim- 
itable ; from the time when the new phil- 
osophy of which Francis Bacon was the 
great exponent became firmly written in a 
few minds, the course of human progress 
has been unfettered each established 
fact, each new discovery, each complete 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

induction is a new weapon from the armory 
of truth ; the march cannot retrogade ; the 
human mind will never go back; the 
question as to the return of barbarism 
is forever at rest. If England were to 
sink beneath the ocean, she hath planted 
the germ of her thought in many a fair 
land beside, and the tree will shadow the 
whole earth. If the whole population 

, of America were to die in a day, a new 
migration would repeople it ; not with liv- 

\ ing forms alone, but with living thought, 
bright streams from the fountains of all 

O Science, thou thought-clad leader 
of the company of pure and great souls, 
that toil for their race and love their 
kinds! measurer of the depths of earth 
and the recesses of heaven! apostle of 
civilization, handmaid of religion, teacher 
of human equality and human right, per- 
petual witness for the Divine wisdom 
be ever, as now, the great minister of 
peace ! Let thy starry brow and benign 


The Atlantic Cable Address. 

front still gleam in the van of progress, 
brighter than the sword of the conqueror, 
and welcome as the light of heaven ! 

The commercial benefits to accrue to 
all nations from instantaneous communi- 
cation are too apparent to permit much 
remark ; the convenience of the merchant, 
the correspondence of demand and sup- 
ply, the quick return of values, the more 
immediate apprehension of the condition 
of the world, are among the direct results 
most obvious to all men ; but these are at 
last mere agencies for a superior good, 
and are but heralds of the great ameliora- 
tions to follow in the stately march. 

The great enemy of commerce, and 
indeed of the human race, is war. Some- 
times ennobling to individuals and na- 
tions, it is more frequently the offspring 
of a narrow nationality, and inveterate 
prejudice. If it enlists in its service 
some of the noblest qualities of the hu- 
man heart, it too often perverts them to 
the service of a despot. 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

From the earliest ages a chain of moun- 
tains, or a line of a river, made men 
strangers, if not enemies. Whatever, 
therefore, opens communication and cre- 
ates interchange of ideas, counteracts the 
sanguinary tendencies of mankind, and 
does its part to " beat the sword into the 

We hail, as we trust, in the event we 
commemorate, a happier era in the his- 
tory of the world, and read in the omens 
attendant on its completion an augury of 
perpetual peace. 

The spectacle which marked the mo- 
ment when the cable was first dropped 
in the deep sea, was one of absorbing 
interest. Two stately ships of different 
and once hostile nations, bore the pre- 
cious freight. Meeting in mid-ocean they 
exchanged the courtesies of their gallant 
profession each bore the flag of St. 
George, each carried the flowing Stripes 
and blazing Stars on each deck that 
martial band bowed reverently in prayer 

The Atlantic Cable Address. 

to the Great Ruler of the tempest : exact 
in order, perfect in discipline, they waited 
the auspicious moment to seek the distant 
shore. Well were those noble vessels 
named, the one, Niagara, with a force 
resistless as our own cataract ; the other, 
Agamemnon, "the king of men," as con- 
stant in purpose, as resolute in trial, as 
the great leader of the Trojan war. Bight 
well, O gallant crews, have you fulfilled 
your trust! Favoring were the gales and 
smooth the seas that bore you to the 
land ; and oh ! if the wish and prayer of 
the good and wise of all the earth may 
avail, your high and peaceful mission 
shall remain forever perfect, and those 
triumphant standards so long shadowing 
the earth with their glory, shall wave in 
united folds as long as the Homeric story 
shall be remembered among men, or 
the thunders of Niagara reverberate above 
its arch of spray. 

It is impossible, fellow-citizens, within 
such limits as the nature of this assem- 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

blage indicates, to portray the various 
modes in which the whole human race 
are to be impelled on the march of pro- 
gress by the telegraphic union of the two 
nations; but I cannot forget where I 
stand, nor the audience I address. The 
Atlantic telegraph is but one link in a 
line of thought which is to bind the 
world: the next link is to unite the 
Atlantic and Pacific. Who doubts that 
this union is near at hand ? * Have we 
no other Fields ? Shall the skill which 
sounded the Atlantic not scale the Sierra 
Nevada ? Is the rolling plain more dan- 
gerous than the rolling deep? Shall 
science repose upon its laurels, or achieve- 
ment faint by the Atlantic shore ? Let 
us do our part; let our energy awake! 
Let us be the men we were when we 
planted an empire. We are in the high- 
way of commerce ; let us widen the track 
one effort more, and science will span 

* When this union was effected, three years later, the 
second message sent over the wire was the announcement 
of Baker's fall in battle. 


The Atlantic Cable Address. 

the world. While I speak, there comes 
to us, borne on every blast from the East 
and from the West, high tidings of civili- 
zation, toleration, and freedom. In En- 
gland the Jews are restored to all the 
privileges of citizens, and the last step 
in the path of religious toleration is 
taken. The Emperor of Russia has de- 
creed the emancipation of his serfs, and 
the first movement for civil liberty is 
begun. China opens her ports, and 
commerce and Christianity will penetrate 
the East. Japan sends her embassador 
to America, and America will return the 
blessings of civilization to Japan. O 
human heart and human hope! never 
before in all your history did ye so rise 
to the inspiration of a prophet in the 
majesty of your prediction ! 

Fellow-citizens, we have a just and 
generous pride in the great achievement 
we here commemorate. We rejoice in 
the manly energy, the indomitable will, 
that pushed it forward to success; we 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

admire the skillful adaptation and appli- 
cation of the forces of nature to the uses 
of mankind; we reverence the great 
thinkers whose observation swept through 
the universe of facts and events, and whose 
patient wisdom traced and evolved the 
general law. Yet, more than this, we 
turn with wonder and delight, to behold 
on every hand the results of scientific 
method everywhere visible and every- 
where increasing; but amid that wonder 
and delight we turn to a still greater 
wonder the human mind itself! Who 
shall now stay its progress ? What shall 
impede its career ? No longer trammeled 
by theories nor oppressed by the despo- 
tism of authority grasping, at the very 
vestibule, the key to knowledge, its ad- 
vance, though gradual, is but the more 
sure. It is engaged in a perpetual war- 
fare, but its empire is perpetually enlar- 
ging. No fact is forgotten, no truth is lost, 
no induction falls to the ground ; it is as 
industrious as the sun ; it is as restless 


The Atlantic Cable Address. 

as the sea ; it is as universal as the race 
itself; it is boundless in its ambition, 
and irrepressible in its hope. And yet, 
in the very midst of the great works that 
mark its progress, while we behold on 
every hand the barriers of darkness and 
ignorance overthrown, and perceive the 
circle of knowledge continually widening, 
we must forever remember that man, in 
all his pride of scientific research, and 
all his power of elemental conquest, can 
but follow at an infinite distance the 
methods of the Great Designer of the 
Universe. His research is but the attempt 
to learn what nature has done or may do ; 
his plans are but an imperfect copy of a 
half-seen original. He strives, and some- 
times with success, to penetrate into the 
workshop of nature ; but whether he use 
the sunbeam, or steam, or electricity 
whether he discover a continent or a 
star whether he decompose light or 
water whether he fathom the depths 
of the ocean or the depths of the human 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

in each and all lie is but an imita- 
tion of the Great Architect and Creator of 
all things. We have accomplished a great 
work ; we have diminished space to a 
point ; we have traversed one twelfth of 
the circumference of our globe with a 
chain of thought pulsating with intelli- 
gence, and almost spiritualizing matter. 

But, even while we assemble to mark 
the deed and rejoice at its completion, 
the Almighty, as if to impress us with a 
becoming sense of our weakness as com- 
pared with his power, has set a new 
signal of his reign in heaven ! If to-night, 
fellow-citizens, you will look out from 
the glare of your illuminated city into 
the northwestern heavens, you will per- 
ceive, low down on the edge of the 
horizon, a bright stranger, pursuing its 
path across the sky. Amid the starry 
hosts that keep their watch, it shines 
attended by a brighter pomp and followed 
by a broader train. No living man has 
gazed upon its splendors before ; no 


The Atlantic Cable Address. 

watchful votary of science has traced its 
course for nearly ten generations. It is 
more than three hundred years since its 
approach was visible from our planet. 
When last it came, it startled an emperor 
on his throne, and while the supersti- 
tion of the age taught him to perceive in 
its presence a herald and a doom, his 
pride saw in its flaming course and fiery 
train the announcement that his own light 
was about to be extinguished. In com- 
mon with the lowest of his subjects, he 
read omens of destruction in the baleful 
heavens, and prepared himself for a fate 
which alike awaits the mightiest and the 
meanest. Thanks to the present condi- 
tion of scientific knowledge, we read the 
heavens with a far clearer perception. We 
see in the predicted return of the rush- 
ing, blazing comet through the sky, the 
march of a heavenly messenger along his 
appointed way and around his predes- 
tined orbit. For three hundred years 
he has traveled amid the regions of 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

infinite space. "Lone wandering, but 
not lost," he has left behind him shining 
suns, blazing stars, and gleaming constel- 
lations, now nearer to the Eternal Throne, 
and again on the confines of the universe. 
He returns, with visage radiant and be- 
nign ; he returns, with unimpeded march 
and unobstructed way; he returns, the 
majestic, swift electric telegraph of the 
Almighty, bearing upon his flaming front 
the tidings that throughout the universe 
there is still peace and order that, 
amid the immeasurable dominions of the 
Great King, his rule is still perfect 
that suns and stars and systems tread their 
endless circle and obey the Eternal Law. 
When Pericles, the greatest of Athenian 
statesmen, stood in the suburb of the 
Kerameikos to deliver the funeral ora- 
tion of the soldiers who had fallen in the 
expedition to Samos, he seized the occa- 
sion to describe, with great but pardon- 
able pride, the grandeur of Athens. It 
was the first year of the Peloponnesian 


The Atlantic Cable Address. 

war, and he spoke amid the trophies of 
the Persian conquest and the creations 
of the Greek genius. In that immortal 
oration he depicted in glowing colors the 
true sources of national greatness, and 
enumerated the titles by which Athens 
claimed to be first city of the world. He 
spoke of constitutional guarantees, of 
democratic principles, of the supremacy 
of law, of the freedom of the social 
march. He spoke of the elegance of pri- 
vate life of the bounteousness of com- 
forts and luxuries of a system of 
education of their encouragement to 
strangers of their cultivated taste of 
their love of the beautiful of their 
rapid interchange of ideas ; but above 
all, he dwelt upon the courage of her 
citizens, animated by reflections that her 
greatness was achieved "by men of dar- 
ing, full of a sense of honorable shame 
in all their actions." 

Fellow - citizens, in most of these 
respects we may adopt the description; 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

but if in taste, in manners, if in temples 
and statues, if in love and appreciation 
of art, we fall below the genius of Athens, 
in how many respects is it our fortune 
to be superior! We have a revealed 
religion; we have a perfect system of 
morality; we have a literature, based, it 
is true, on their models, but extending 
into realms of which they never dreamed ; 
we have a vast and fertile territory within 
our own dominion, and science brings the 
whole world within our reach ; we have 
founded an empire in a wilderness, and 
poured fabulous treasures into the lap of 
commerce. * 

But, amid all these wonders, it is 
obvious that we stand upon the threshold 
of new discoveries, and at the entrance 
to a more imperial dominion. The his- 
tory of the last three hundred years has 
been a history of successive advances, 
each more wonderful than the last. 

There is no reason to believe that the 
procession will be stayed, or the music 


The Atlantic Cable Address. 

of its march be hushed ; on the contrary, 
the world is radiant with hope, and all 
the signs in earth and heaven are full of 
promise to the race. Happy are we to 
whom it is given to share and spread 
these blessings; happier yet if we shall 
transmit the great trust committed to our 
care undimmed and unbroken to succeed- 
ing generations. 

I have spoken of three hundred years 
past dare I imagine three hundred 
years to come ? It is a period very far 
beyond the life of the individual man; 
it is but a span in the history of a nation, 
throughout the changing generations of 
mental life. The men grow old and die, 
the community remains, the nation sur- 
vives. As we transmit our institutions, 
so we shall transmit our blood and our 
names to future ages and populations. 
What multitudes shall throng these 
shores, what cities shall gem the bor- 
ders of the sea! Here all people and 
all tongues shall meet. Here shall be a 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

more perfect civilization, a more thorough 
intellectual development, a firmer faith, a 
more reverent worship. 

Perhaps, as we look back to the 
struggle of an earlier age, and mark 
the 'steps of our ancestors in the career 
we have traced, so some thoughtful man 
of letters in ages yet to come, may bring 
to light the history of this shore or of 
this day. I am sure, fellow-citizens, that 
whoever shall hereafter read it, will per- 
ceive that our pride and joy are dimmed 
by no stain of selfishness. Our pride is 
for humanity ; our joy is for the world ; 
and amid all the wonders of past 
achievement and all the splendors of 
present success, we turn with swelling 
hearts to gaze into the boundless future, 
with the earnest conviction that it will 
develop a universal brotherhood of man. 



WILLIAM I. FERGUSON, a carpenter's son, born in Penn- 
sylvania, grew up in Illinois, receiving a common-school 
education, clerking in a store, then becoming a lawyer. 
He was several times city attorney of Springfield, and in 
1848, when he was only twenty-three, his name was on 
the Democratic electoral ticket. He came to be the first 
criminal lawyer at the Sangamon bar. He removed to 
Californiain the summer of 1853, locating in Sacramento, 
and in '55 was elected as a Know-nothing to the State 
Senate, and was made chairman of the Judiciary Commit- 
tee. In '57 he was re-elected Senator, this time as a Demo- 
crat. The Democratic party was then dividing on the 
slavery question, and Ferguson became conspicuous as 
the most fervid orator of the Northern, or Douglas, wing. 
The Legislature then met annually. In August, 1858, 
between two sessions, Ferguson, on a visit to San Francisco, 
had a personal dispute, influenced by partisan feeling, 
with Geo. Pen Johnston, attorney-at-law, United States 
Commissioner, Clerk of the U. S. Circuit Court, and who 
later became part owner of the Examiner newspaper. 
Ferguson accepted a challenge to a duel, and the parties 
met on Angel Island, on August 21st. At the fourth fire 
Ferguson was shot in the leg just below the thigh. He 
held out against amputation, but three weeks afterward 
this was resorted to. His life ended under the ordeal. A 
pathetic story of the closing scene is presented in the old 
chronicles. It shows the nobility of the man whose 
doom moved Baker to words so apt and fond. 

Before the commencement of the final preparation, 
Ferguson prepared himself for death. He then, for the 
first time, stated that he believed the wound had extended 
to his hip joint, as that had of late been the source of 
great pain. He had little or no doubt that amputation 
would be necessary, and he did not expect to survive 
it. Indeed, he went so far as to say that life was not 
desirable under such circumstances. His language was 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

sensible and cheerful, yet his tone was feeble and melan- 
choly. He conversed freely of the difficulty that brought 
about the meeting between him and his antagonist, which 
he insisted was misunderstood. He did not doubt that 
Johnston was honest in that misunderstanding, and 
believed that he (Ferguson) had really made the remark 
attributed to him. Yet Ferguson contended that he (Fer- 
guson) was the proper judge, and that his adversary was 
mistaken. On this assertion, he exhibited much earnest- 
ness, and repeated the remark again and again. He 
spoke of the meeting between them on the field, after he 
had been wounded, and regretted that an improper inter- 
pretation had been given to Johnston's remarks. He 
said they had been spoken kindly and feelingly, and 
were well intended, and he hoped no friend of his would 
say to the contrary. He also stated that the whole affair 
was conducted honorably and fairly; and above all, he 
desired that no prosecution of Johnston should be toler- 
ated by his friends. He said in this connection, " I freely 
forgive him, and hope he may continue to be a useful 
and honorable member of society ; then, why should others, 
whom he never injured, refuse to do so ? " He spoke of his 
mother; but no language can cdiivey the eloquence of his 
trembling lips, his silvery accents, as he called the name 
of her who gave the life now just entering eternity. He 
expressed the wish to be buried in Sacramento, as he felt 
that place to be his home yet he would leave that mat- 
ter to his friends. At this period he desired to be alone. 
A few moments thereafter his faithful servant "John" 
came from his room bathed in tears. " He has said his 
last prayer on earth." When his friends again entered, 
he said, " I am ready." The chloroform was applied, and 
he never spoke more. 

Ferguson had said, a day or two before, to those watch- 
ing at his bedside: " My friend Baker has known me 
best; ask him, if he will, to speak of me when I am dead." 
The orator's eulogy was delivered in the Senate chamber 
at Sacramento, where the body was lying in state, Septem- 
ber 16, 1858. 



THE intense interest which is apparent 
in this crowded auditory too well evinces 
the mournful character of the ceremony 
we are about to perform. Wherever 
death may invade the precincts of life, 
whether in the loftiest or lowliest home, 
there is a tear for all who fall ; there is a 
mourner for even the meanest and the 
most humble ; but when beyond the deep 
impression which the change from life to 
death produces in all good minds when 
beyond this we know that an eminent 
citizen is stricken down in the full vigor 
of his manhood and in the pride of his 
intellectual power, the impression is 
deeply mournful. And when to this we 
add that those who loved him in life, 
whose servant and representative he was, 
have gathered around his bier to-day to 
accompany him to his last resting-place 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

on earth, the impression is not merely 
mournful, but painful. And when we 
add to this that the man we mourn died 
by the hand of violence suddenly in 
a peaceful land, away from his own 
friends, the painful impression becomes 
an overwhelming sorrow. 

At the personal request of our departed 
friend, it has been assigned to me to say 
a few words upon this occasion. 

I have perhaps known him longer than 
anybody here. I have 'known him, more 
particularly in his early youth, perhaps 
better than any one here assembled. I 
have watched the bud, the blow, the fruit, 
and lastly the untimely decay ; and while 
I desire to speak of him as he himself 
would wish to be spoken of ; while I do 
not mean that personal friendship shall 
warp my judgment or lead me to say as 
his friend anything unduly in his praise, 
so also, on the other hand, shall I say 
nothing against him or others that is 
unjust or unkind. 


The Ferguson Eulogy. 

The gentleman whose remains you are 
about to consign to his last resting-place 
until the trump of the Archangel shall 
sound, was a native of the State of Penn- 
sylvania. I knew his father well; a 
respectable, worthy, honest man; a me- 
chanic by pursuit, intelligent, self-reliant, 
and in every respect honorable. 

The young man was ambitious from 
his boyhood. He sought the profession 
of the law, not merely for itself, but as 
an opening that would lead to what he 
considered were higher and more noble 

He was fitted for the study of law by 
nature. He was then what you knew him 
but lately bold, self-reliant, earnest, 
brilliant, eloquent, a good judge of 
human nature, kind, generous, making 
friends everywhere, placable in his resent- 
ments, easily appeased, and a true friend. 
He read law not only with me, but also 
with far more able men, and he formed 
his judgment of public affairs while 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

honored with the friendship of Douglas, 
his opponent, Lincoln, John J. Hardin, 
who won a deathless name at Buena Vista, 
Judge Logan, and many others who are 
the pride and boast of the Mississippi Val- 
ley. He was early distinguished in his 
own State. He was very young, and he 
had those contests among his own friends 
which are peculiar to politics ; and there 
had the reverses and crosses without 
which no man is worth much. The 
success which he achieved here had its 
foundation laid in defeat, and I think I 
may say that most of what he knew as a 
politician he had learned in the school 
of adversity 

"That stern teacher of the human breast." 

It is not good for a man to be always 
successful, either in private or public 
life. No man's character can be formed 
without trial and suffering, and our de- 
parted friend showed by his course of 
conduct that he could endure temporary 


The Ferguson Eulogy. 

defeat, confident of the ultimate success 
of the right perhaps not the less confi- 
dent of his power to achieve success. He 
was a successful candidate upon the Dem- 
ocratic ticket for presidential elector in 
1848. He was as renowned in his own 
State, as a debater, as he was here ; he 
had (and that is saying a great deal) as 
many friends there as he had here ; he 
deserved them there, as he deserved them 
here, by his fidelity to his friends, high 
personal qualities, courage, intellect, bril- 
liancy by those qualities which rendered 
him so dear to many of you now before 

He came here, and what he was here 
you know better than I. You knew him 
well, for he served you. You knew him 
well, for he ever strove for your appro- 
bation, and loved you living, and loved 
you dying. He had a great many quali- 
ties that make a successful politician, not 
merely in the personal sense of the word, 
but in a higher sense, the achievement of 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

great deeds, and the advancement of great 

These halls have been the witnesses 
of many of his triumphs. As was well 
remarked by a contemporary newspaper, 
he hardly ever undertook that which, 
when he set himself earnestly to work, 
he did not accomplish. He had the de- 
termination to succeed that knowledge 
of mankind that control over other 
men's minds that kindly manner, those 
generous impulses for all that love for 
humanity those qualities of mind which, 
if they called forth grave defects, also 
called forth great virtues. And these 
are in most of the departments of life 
the great elements of success. Mere 
intellect, except in the closet, does but 
little; the qualities of mind, of mere 
abstract wisdom, which distinguished a 
Newton or a La Place, would do but little 
at Washington. It is the same both in 
private and public life. A knowledge 
of the human heart; a readiness of re- 


The Ferguson Eulogy. 

sources; kindness of heart; fidelity in 
friendship will effect more than mere 
abstract wisdom, and must be combined 
with it in order to render that wisdom of 
avail. These, and all these, our friend 

You know how well he served you; 
and those who knew him best, knew how 
ardently he desired your approbation, 
how earnestly he strove to win it. 

There is more than one thing in his 
legislative career which deserves notice, 
and not the least is the manner of his 
death. He died poor not poor in the 
common sense of the term, but poor as 
was Aristides when he was buried at 
the expense of the citizens of Athens. 
Amongst all his papers, there is not 
found the trace of a speculation. He 
had no property no resources ; his pov- 
erty, if remarkable, was honorable. In 
a land where corruption is said to be rife, 
the more especially in legislative bodies, 
and which, whether the charge is true or 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

false, is proverbially liable to corrupting 
influences, it seems impossible that lie 
used the vast power he possessed for 
aught except the public interest and wel- 
fare. And this alone would be a proud 
epitaph to record upon his tombstone. 
He was a man of undoubted courage, 
as his death proved. I am not here to 
speak of its manner. I am not here to 
discuss the subject of dueling. If I 
were, it would be to utter my unquali- 
fied condemnation of the code which 
offers to personal vindictiveness a life 
due only to a country, a family, and to 
God. If I were, under any circum- 
stances, an advocate for a duel, it should 
be at least a fair, equal, and honorable 
duel. If, as was said by an eloquent 
advocate in its favor, "it was the light 
of past ages which shed its radiance upon 
the hill-tops of civilization, although its 
light might be lost in the dark shade of 
the valleys below"; if even I held this 
view, I should still maintain that a duel 


The Ferguson Eulogy. 

should be fair and equal ; that skill 
should not be matched against igno- 
rance, practical training against its ab- 
sence. And while I am in no sense to 
be understood as expressing an opinion 
as to the late duel, knowing nothing of 
the matter myself, yet I do say that no 
duel should stand the test of public 
opinion, independent of the law, except 
the great element of equality is there. 
In the pursuits of common life, no one 
not trained to a profession is supposed 
to be a match for a professional man in 
the duties of his profession. I am no 
match for a physician in any matters con- 
nected with his pursuits, nor would the 
physician be a match for me in a legal 
argument. The soldier is no fair match 
for the civilian, when the latter has not 
been trained to the use of arms; nor, 
although his courage is equal, and he 
may have a profound conviction that he 
is right, will, therefore, the contest be 
rendered equal and just. I repeat that 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

I do not make these remarks intending 
thereby to reflect upon the character of 
the late duel. Personally, I know noth- 
ing more than what I and you all have 
heard. Whether it was fair or unfair, it 
is not my province to inquire. I am de- 
nouncing the system itself, for it loses 
annually hundreds of valuable lives, and 
in the present state of civilization, it 
does no good, profits nothing, arrests no 
evil, but impels a thousand evils; but 
above all, do I protest against any con- 
tests of this nature where, in skill, 
knowledge of weapons, or from any 
cause, the parties are not equals in all 
the conditions of that stern debate. The 
friend whose loss we deplore was un- 
doubtedly a man of courage. Whatever 
may be said with respect to the code of 
dueling whatever may be said as to 
his motives his conduct on the field 
was in all respects what his friends 
expected. He stood four fires, at a dis- 
tance of scarcely twenty feet, with a 


The Ferguson Eulogy. 

conviction that there was a strong de- 
termination to take his life that the 
matter should be carried to an extremity 
and that, too, when, until the day be- 
fore, he had never fired a pistol off in 
his life. But courage is shown not 
merely in action, but in endurance. A 
woman may show the higher quality of 
courage in many instances where many 
men would fail. A brave man a really 
brave man shows his courage no less 
in endurance than in action. It is a 
higher, a greater quality to suffer than 
to do ; and in this respect our friend was 
no way defective. He bore a long and 
painful confinement he bore a severe 
operation he saw his hold upon life 
unclasping day by day, hour by hour; 
and amidst it all, neither his resolution 
nor his cheerfulness faltered for an in- 
stant. When he lay helpless, looking 
back upon the errors (and who has not 
errors?) of his life, he seemed to recall 
them for lessons of instruction and warn- 



Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

ing for the future ; and when he knew he 
must die, he arrayed himself for the last 
contest, to die as became a man, amid all 
sweet and pious and holy recollections. 
He died with no vindictive passion in his 
heart. He died with words of affection 
upon his lips. He died with the thoughts 
of his mother present to liis soul. He 
left this world with the thoughts of 
home and mother. He left with words 
of forgiveness and kindness. His last 
act of consciousness was an act of prayer. 
O Affection, Forgiveness, Faith ! ye are 
mighty spirits. Ye are powerful angels. 
And the soul that in its dying moments 
trusts to these, cannot be far from the 
gates of heaven, whatever the past life 
may have been. However passion or 
excitement may have led a soul astray, if 
at the last and final hour it returns to the 
lessons of a mother's love, of a father's 
care if it learns the great lesson of 
forgiveness to its enemies if at the last 
moment it can utter these words : " Father 


The Ferguson Eulogy. 

of life and light and love!" these shall 
be winged angels troops of blessed 
spirits that will bear the fainting, 
wounded soul to the blessed abodes, 
and forever guard it against despair. Oh, 
my friends ! those mighty gates built by 
the Almighty to guard the entrance to 
the unseen world, will not open at the 
battle-ax of the conqueror; they will 
not roll back if all the artillery of earth 
were to thunder forth a demand, which, 
indeed, would be lost in the infinite 
regions of eternal space! but they will 
open with thoughts of affection, with 
forgiveness of injuries, and with prayer. 
But I am not here to speak of the 
virtues of the departed alone. He had 
his defects ; they were great ; they were 
marked; but they were incident to his 
career and his character. He was, by 
nature and habit, a politician; and of all 
callings, that of a politician is the most 
illusive and unsatisfactory : it kindles the 
mind in a state of constant excitement: 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

it is a constant struggle, which is fre- 
quently injurious in its effects ; and our 
friend, with all his fine qualities, was no 
exception to the rule. Let him that is 
without sin cast the first stone. Of how 
many can we say that no greater defect 
can be recorded? Of him who is dead, 
what worse can be said? He was hon- 
orable, honest, loving, generous, placa- 
ble ; and if amid his virtues, there were 
some defects, they are but to be men- 
tioned to be forgiven and forgotten. 

Fellow-citizens, the words I utter I 
should not deem complete if I did not, 
before I close, utter a word of warning. 
The most powerful intellect, the most 
amiable qualities, may be shaded by a 
love for excitement and the evils which 
the life of a politician is but too apt to 
engender. What Ferguson was, we know. 
What he might have been, if he had 
conquered himself, who can tell? The 
inspired Book says that " he that ruleth 
his own spirit is greater than him that 


The Ferguson Eulogy. 

taketh a city," and if our departed friend 
could have conquered himself, who could 
have stayed the resistless course of his 
bright intellect? It should be a warn- 
ing to us all, gray heads as well as to 
young men. All should remember that 
the pursuit of politics is delusive and 
full of temptation. No man should forget 
the duty he owes to his country, but all 
should remember that they owe a duty 
to themselves. When men I refer now 
more particularly to young men see a 
great statesman stand forth in the midst 
of a listening senate, and mark the stamp 
which he makes upon the public mind, 
and upon the policy of the country, by 
the force of his intellectual vigor, they 
are apt to forget the labors by which 
that proud position has been achieved 
to forget how many have sought to attain 
such a lofty position and have failed ; and 
to forget that he who is now filling their 
minds with admiration, , may be on the 
eve of a sudden fall. Politics should not 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

be the pursuit I mean the only pursuit 
of any man. Representative honors, 
official station, should only be the occa- 
sional reward, or the occasional sacrifice ; 
and if, forgetting this rule, young men 
attempt to make politics their only hope, 
with the probability that in many cases 
they will fail, and that if successful, they 
will surely be exposed to a thousand 
temptations : if they love excitement for 
its own sake the noisy meetings, the 
conventions, the elections this love for 
excitement will grow upon them, and 
they will soon be on the high road to 

If any one is determined to achieve 
distinction in politics, let him first ob- 
tain a competency in some trade, profes- 
sion, or pursuit, and then, even if unsuc- 
cessful in politics, the misstep will not 
be irretrievable. But, young men, do 
not be beguiled by the example of our 
Ferguson, even if you possess his splen- 
did talents even if you could achieve 


The Ferguson Eulogy. 

the success he did: look at the end! 
There he lies in a bloody grave. Let 
your habits be fixed. " Let all the ends 
thou aimest at be thy country's and thy 

Fellow-citizens, I have said what I 
supposed this occasion most required. 
If I had been told sixteen years ago that 
it would be my fortune to stand by the 
bloody grave of my young friend, in the 
city of Sacramento on the Pacific coast, 
I could scarcely have believed it had an 
angel from heaven told me so; for at 
that time there was no civilized Pacific 
coast. Then his course was unmarked, 
and my future was so marked out, that 
it would seem but little less than a 
miracle that I should stand here, by 
his dying request, to offer a few poor 
remarks over his bier, before he is laid 
to rest in the place he loved so well 
in the city named after the sweeping 
Sacramento. But who can tell what a day 
may bring forth? Here we see the sud- 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

den, untimely end of one who was amia- 
ble, gifted, and who was looking forward 
to a long career of honor and fame. And 
perhaps it may be my lot to be shortly 
laid in the grave; and perhaps in this 
assembly some one may be called upon 
to address some remarks over my poor 
lifeless body even as I have been 
called upon on the present occasion; and 
if this should be so, I pray that that 
friend may accord to me as much of 
praise and as little of blame as will be 
consistent with the truth. 

In conclusion, I would remark that I 
have no words sufficient to express my 
own personal regret. I have lost a warm 
personal friend. I may find others, but 
I shall not be able to find friends that I 
have loved in other years. I shall not 
often find those to whom I can, as I 
could to him, talk of the old familiar 
times and the lessons I taught him in 
early life of the virtues and example 
of his parents of his mother's, his 

The Ferguson Eulogy. 

poor afflicted mother's affection and love 
of his old contests his old hopes, 
so often broken. I shall not often find 
friends like these, nor can the breach 
which death has made be so easily 

Let me hope, for myself and us all, 
that when we have filled our allotted 
space in this world; when we are 
attended by weeping friends, for the 
purpose of removing us to our last rest- 
ing-place, that it shall not be said of us 
that we have lived without purpose, but 
that we have gathered friends in the days 
of our manhood ; that we have left fruits 
to bloom when we have departed. 


DAVID C. BEODERICK, stone-cutter's son and United 
States Senator, was born in Washington, D. C., on the 4th 
of February, 1820. In his sixth year the family settled 
permanently in New York City. When he was fourteen 
his father died, and, at seventeen, he was apprenticed to 
his father's trade, and followed it for some years. He 
received little education in boyhood, but began a wide 
course of reading before coming of age. He became 
prominent in local politics on the Democratic side, and 
in the fire organization, being foreman of Howard En- 
gine Company, No. 34. The death of his mother in '42, and 
the loss of his brother by an accident soon after, left him 
without a known relative. In '46 he was nominated for 
Congress by one wing of his party, the Young Democracy, 
but was defeated. He arrived in California in 1849. While 
an operative in Samuel W. Haight's assay office, San Fran- 
cisco, he was, in January, 1850, elected to a vacancy in the 
State Senate, and was re-elected for a full term. He had 
organized the first fire company in the city Empire 
No. 1 and became its foreman. When Broderick died, 
the company took his name. 

In January, 1852, he was defeated by John B. Weller 
for the Democratic nomination for United States Senator 
losing the prize by one vote. Five years later, he was 
elected to that office for a full term of six years from the 
4th of March, 1857. The Democratic party being divided 
by the slavery question into Northern and Southern wings, 
Broaerick led the former, while Southern men, generally, 
followed his senatorial colleague, Wm. M. Gwin. President 
Buchanan favored the Southern wing, and Senator Gwin 
directed the distribution of Federal patronage in Cali- 
fornia. Returning home, after an open breach with the 
President, Broderick entered, with great determination, 
into the most excising and remarkable political canvass 
the State has known that of 1859. It was the campaign 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

which the genius of Baker so illumined. The Democratic 
party broke squarely in two, and the Republicans made 
their first great fight, but not a winning one. The Ad- 
ministration Democrats elected their full ticket for State 
officers (Latham for Governor), and, although Douglas 
Democrats and Republicans united upon Baker and Sib- 
ley for Congress, the latter were defeated overwhelm- 

In June, 1859, the campaign pending, Judge David S. 
Terry, of the Supreme Court, Administration Democrat, 
in a public speech, alluded to the other wing of his party 
as " the personal chattels of a single individual whom 
they are ashamed of. They belong, body and breeches, 
to David C. Broderick." On reading this speech, Brod- 
eriok remarked that he had once referred to Judge Terry 
as the only honest man on the Supreme Bench, but that 
now he took it back. D. W. Perley, a friend of Judge Terry, 
heard this expression, and challenged Broderick to a 
duel. The Senator replied, in effect, that he would be 
otherwise engaged until the canvass was ended. Right 
after the election, when Broderick and Baker were in the 
valley of defeat, Judge Terry resigned from the Supreme 
Bench, and, after correspondence, Broderick explaining, 
but not retracting, the Judge challenged the Senator, who 
accepted. On the 12th of September, 1859, near Lake 
Merced, was fought the most memorable duel in our 
annals, graphically described in BENCH AND BAR IN CALI- 
FORNIA, by an eye-witness. Broderick fell at the first ex- 
change of snots, struck full in the right breast, fie 
expired four days later. The body was placed in state in 
the Union Hotel, fronting Portsmouth Square, in which 
Ferguson had died a year before. The funeral occurred 
on Sunday, September 18th, the same master tongue that 
spoke at Ferguson's bier delivering the eulogium. 

Broderick left a large estate the result of invest- 
ments in San Francisco realty which was the subject of 
protracted litigation. A chapter in REPRESENTATIVE MEN 
OP THE PACIFIC is devoted to his career. 

The oration, wiiich next follows, was thus referred to 


The Broderick Oration. 

by George Wilkes, of New York city, in a newspaper 
eulogy of Baker, soon after the latter's death: 

" At the foot of the coffin stood the priest; at its head, 
and so he could gaze fully on the face of his dead friend, 
stood the fine figure of the orator. Both of them, the 
living and the dead, were self-made men; and the son 
of the stone-cutter, lying in mute grandeur, with a record 
floating round the coffin which bowed the heads of the 
surrounding thousands down in silent respect, might 
have been proud of the tribute which the weaver's 
apprentice was about to lay upon his breast. For min- 
utes after the vast audience had settled itself to hear his 
words, the orator did not speak. He did not look in the 
coffin nay, neither to the right nor left; but the gaze of 
his fixed eye was turned within his mind, and the tear 
was upon his cheek. Then, when the silence was the 
most intense, his tremulous voice rose like a wail, and, 
with an uninterrupted stream of lofty, burning, and 
pathetic words, he so penetrated and possessed the hearts 
of the sorrowing mulitude, that there was not one cheek 
less moistened than his own. For an hour he held them 
as with a spell; and when he finished, by bending over 
the calm face and stretching his arms forward by an 
impressive gesture, exclaimed, in quavering accents, 
Good friend! brave heert! gallant leader! hail and fare- 
well I ' the audience broke into a general response of sobs. 
Never, perhaps, was eloquence more thrilling; never, 
certainly, was it better adapted to the temper of the 
listeners. The political field in California not being open 
to immediate occupation, Baker transferred himself to Ore- 
gon, and there the glow of his last effort soon carried 
him to the highest honors of that State." 

Of this production, Edward Stanly said, in his own 
fine eulogy of Baker : " I have read no effort of that charac- 
ter, called out by such an event, so admirable, so touch- 
ing, so worthy the sweet eloquence of Baker. It should 
crown him with immortality." 



lies dead in our midst! He is wrapped 
in a bloody shroud, and we, to whom his 
toils and cares were given, are about to 
bear him to the place appointed for all 
the living. It is not fit that such a man 
should pass to the tomb unheralded ; it 
is not fit that such a life should steal 
unnoticed to its close ; it is not fit that 
such a death should call forth no rebuke, 
or be followed by no public lamentation. 
It is this conviction which impels the 
gathering of this assemblage. We are 
here of every station and pursuit, of every 
creed and character, each in his capacity 
of citizen, to swell the mournful tribute 
which the majesty of the people offers 
to the unreplying dead. He lies to-day 
surrounded by little of funeral pomp. 
No banners droop above the bier, no 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

melancholy music floats upon the reluc- 
tant air. The hopes of high-hearted 
friends droop like fading flowers upon 
his breast, and the struggling sigh com- 
pels the tear in eyes that seldom weep. 
Around him are those who have known 
him best and loved him longest; who 
have shared the triumph, and endured 
the defeat. Near him are the gravest 
and noblest of the State, possessed by 
a grief at once earnest and sincere ; while 
beyond, the masses of the people whom 
he loved and for whom his life was given, 
gather like a thunder-cloud of swelling 
and indignant grief. 

In such a presence, fellow-citizens, let us 
linger for a moment at the portals of the 
tomb, whose shadowy arches vibrate to the 
public heart, to speak a few brief words 
of the man, of his life, and of his death. 

Mr. Broderick was born in the District 
of Columbia, in 1820. He was of Irish 
descent, and of obscure and respectable 
parentage ; he had little of early advan- 

The Broderick Oration. 

tages, and never summoned to his aid 
a complete and finished education. His 
boyhood and his early manhood were 
passed in the city of New York, and the 
loss of his father early stimulated him 
to the efforts which maintained his sur- 
viving mother and brother, and served 
also to fix and form his character even 
in his boyhood. His love for his mother 
was his first and most distinctive trait of 
character, and when his brother died 
an early and sudden death the shock 
gave a serious and reflective cast to his 
habits and his thoughts, which marked 
them to the last hour of his life. 

He was always filled with pride, and 
energy, and ambition. His pride was in 
the manliness and force of his character, 
and no man had more reason than he 
for such pride. His energy was mani- 
fest in the most resolute struggles with 
poverty and obscurity, and his ambition 
impelled him to seek a foremost place 
in the great race for honorable power. 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Up to the time of his arrival in Cali- 
fornia, his life had been passed amid 
events incident to such a character. 
Fearless, self-reliant, open in his enmi- 
ties, warm in his friendships, wedded 
to his opinions, and. marching directly 
to his purpose through and over all 
opposition, his career was checkered 
with success and defeat; but even in 
defeat, his energies were strengthened 
and his character developed. When he 
reached these shores, his keen observa- 
tion taught him at once that he trod a 
broad field, and that a higher career was 
before him. He had no false pride ; 
sprung from a people and of a race 
whose vocation was labor, he toiled with 
his own hands, and sprang at a bound 
from the workshop to the legislative 
hall. From that time there congregated 
around him and against him the elements 
of success and defeat strong friend- 
ships, bitter enmities, high praise, malig- 
nant calumnies ; but he trod with a free 


The Broderick Oration. 

and a proud step that onward path which 
has led him to glory and the grave. 

It would be idle for me, at this hour 
and in this place, to speak of all that 
history with unmitigated praise ; it will 
be idle for his enemies hereafter to deny 
his claim to noble virtues and high pur- 
poses. When, in the Legislature, he 
boldly denounced the special legislation 
which is the curse of a new country, he 
proved his courage and his rectitude. 
When he opposed the various and some- 
times successful schemes to strike out 
the salutary provisions of the Constitu- 
tion which guarded free labor, he was 
true to all the better instincts of his life. 
When, prompted by ambition and the 
admiration of his friends, he first sought 
a seat in the Senate of the United States, 
he aimed by legitimate effort to attain 
the highest of all earthly positions, and 
failed with honor. 

It is my duty to say that, in my judg- 
ment, when at a later period he sought 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

to anticipate the senatorial election, he 
committed an error which I think he 
lived to regret. It would have been 
a violation of the true principles of rep- 
resentative government, which no reason, 
public or private, could justify, and 
could never have met the permanent 
approval of good and wise men. Yet, 
while I say this over his bier, let me 
remind you of the temptation to such 
an error, of the plans and reasons which 
prompted it, of the many good pur- 
poses it was intended to effect. And if 
ambition, "the last infirmity of noble 
minds," led him for a moment from the 
better path, let me remind you how nobly 
he regained it. 

It is impossible to speak within the 
limits of this address of the events of 
that session of the Legislature at which 
he was elected to the Senate of the United 
States; but some things should not be 
passed in silence here. The contest 
between him and the present Senator 

The Broderick Oration. 

had been bitter and personal. He had 
triumphed. He had been wonderfully 
sustained by his friends, and stood con- 
fessedly " the first in honor and the first 
in place." He yielded to an appeal made 
to his magnanimity by his foe. If he 
judged unwisely, he has paid the forfeit 
well. Never in the history of political 
warfare has any public man been so pur- 
sued ; never has malignity so exhausted 

Fellow-citizens ! the man whose body 
lies before you was your Senator. From 
the moment of his- election his character 
has been maligned, his motives attacked, 
his courage impeached, his patriotism 
assailed. It has been a system tending 
to one end and the end is here. "What 
was his crime? Keview his history 
consider his public acts weigh his 
private character, and before the grave 
incloses him forever, judge between him 
and his enemies. 

Asa man to be judged in his pri- 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

vate relations who was his superior? 
It was his boast, and amid the general 
license of a new country, it was a proud 
one, that his most scrutinizing enemy 
could fix no single act of immorality 
upon him! Temperate, decorous, self- 
restrained, he had passed through all 
the excitements of California unstained. 
No man could charge him with broken 
faith or violated, trust; of habits simple 
and inexpensive, he had no lust of gain. 
He overreached no man's weakness in 
a bargain, and withheld from no man his 
just dues. Never, in the history of the 
State, has there been a citizen who has 
borne public relations more stainless 
in all respects than he. 

But it is not by this standard he is to 
be judged. He was a public man, and 
his memory demands a public judgment. 
What was his public crime ? The answer 
is in his own words : " / die because I ivas 
opposed to a corrupt administration, and 
the extension of slavery'' Fellow-citizens, 


The Broderick Oration. 

they are remarkable words, uttered at 
a very remarkable moment ; they involve 
the history of his senatorial career, and 
of its sad and bloody termination. 

When Mr. Broderick entered the Sen- 
ate, he had been elected at the beginning 
of a Presidential term as the friend of 
the President-elect, having undoubtedly 
been one of his most influential sup- 
porters. There were unquestionably some 
things in the exercise of the appointing 
power which he could have wished other- 
wise; but he had every reason to remain 
with the Administration which could 
be supposed to weigh with a man in his 
position. He had heartily maintained 
the doctrine of popular sovereignty, as 
set forth in the Cincinnati platform, and 
he never wavered in his support till the 
day of his death. But when in his judg- 
ment the President betrayed his obliga- 
tions to his party and country when, 
in the whole series of acts in relation to 
Kansas, he proved recreant to his pledges 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

and instructions when the whole power 
of the Administration was brought to 
bear upon the legislative branch of the 
Government, in order to force slavery 
upon an unwilling people then, in the 
high performance of his duty as a Senator, 
he rebuked the Administration by his 
voice and vote, and stood by his prin- 
ciples. It is true, he adopted no half- 
way measures. He threw the whole 
weight of his character into the ranks of 
the opposition. He endeavored to arouse 
the people to an indignant sense of the 
iniquitous tyranny of Federal power, and 
kindling with the contest, became its 
fiercest and firmest opponent. Fellow- 
citizens, whatever may have been your 
political predilections, it is impossible to 
repress your admiration, as you review 
the conduct of the man who lies hushed 
in death before you. You read in his 
history a glorious imitation of the great 
popular leaders who have opposed the 
despotic influences of power in other 


The Broderick Oration. 

lands and in our own. When John 
Hampden died on Chalgrove field, he 
sealed his devotion to popular liberty 
with his blood. The eloquence of Fox 
found the sources of its inspiration in 
his love for the people. When Senators 
conspired against Tiberius Gracchus, and 
the Tribune of the people fell beneath 
their daggers, it was power that prompted 
the crime and demanded the sacrifice. 
Who can doubt, if your Senator had 
surrendered his free thought, and bent in 
submission to the rule of the Adminis- 
tration who can doubt that, instead of 
resting on a bloody bier, he would have 
this day been reposing in the inglorious 
felicitude of Presidential sunshine? 

Fellow-citizens, let no man suppose 
that the death of the eminent citizen of 
whom I speak was caused by any other 
reason than that to which his own words 
assign it. It has been long foreshadowed 
it was predicted by his friends 
it was threatened by his enemies: it 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

was the consequence of intense political 
hatred. His death was a political neces- 
sity, poorly veiled beneath the guise of 
a private quarrel. Here, in his own 
State, among those who witnessed the 
late canvass, who know the contending 
leaders, among those who know the antag- 
onists on the bloody ground here, the 
public conviction is so thoroughly settled, 
that nothing need be said. Tested by 
the correspondence itself, there was no 
cause, in morals, in honor, in taste, by 
any code, by the custom of any civilized 
land, there was no cause for blood. Let 
me repeat the story it is as brief as it 
is fatal : A judge of the Supreme Court 
descends into a political convention it 
is just, however, to say that the occasion 
was to return thanks to his friends for an 
unsuccessful support. In a speech bitter 
and personal, he stigmatized Senator 
Broderick and all his friends in words of 
contemptuous insult. When Mr. Brod- 
erick saw that speech, he retorted, saying 


The Broderick Oration. 

in substance, that he had heretofore 
spoken of Judge Terry as an honest man, 
but that he now took it back. When 
inquired of, he admitted that he had so 
said, and connected his words with Judge 
Terry's speech as prompting them. So 
far as Judge Terry personally was con- 
cerned, this was the cause of mortal 
combat; there was no other. 

In the contest which has just termi- 
nated in the State, Mr. Broderick had 
taken a leading part; he had been engaged 
in controversies very personal in their 
nature, because the subjects of public 
discussion had involved the character 
and conduct of many public and distin- 
guished men. But Judge Terry was not 
one of these. He was no contestant; his 
conduct was not in issue; he had been 
mentioned but once incidentally in 
reply to his own attack and, except as 
it might be found in his peculiar traits 
or peculiar fitness, there was no reason 
to suppose that he would seek any man's 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

blood. When William of Nassau, the 
deliverer of Holland, died in the presence 
of his wife and children, the hand that 
struck the blow was not nerved by pri- 
vate vengeance. When the fourth Henry 
passed unharmed amid the dangers of 
the field of Ivry, to perish in the streets 
of his capital by the hand of a fanatic, 
he did not seek to avenge a private grief. 
An exaggerated sense of personal honor 
a weak mind with choleric passions, 
intense sectional prejudice united with 
great confidence in the use of arms 
these sometimes serve to stimulate the 
instruments which accomplish the deep- 
est and deadliest purpose. 

Fellow-citizens ! One year ago to-day 
I performed a duty, such as I perform 
to-day, over the remains of Senator Fer- 
guson, who died as Broderick died, 
tangled in the meshes of the code of 
honor. To-day there is another and more 
eminent sacrifice. To-day I renew my 
protest ; to-day I utter yours. The code 

The Broderick Oration. 

of honor is a delusion and a snare ; it 
palters with the hope of a true courage 
and binds it at the feet of crafty and 
cruel skill. It surrounds its victim with 
the pomp and grace of the procession, 
but leaves him bleeding on the altar. It 
substitutes cold and deliberate prepara- 
tion for courageous and manly impulse, 
and arms the one to disarm the other ; it 
may prevent fraud between practiced 
duelists who should be forever without 
its pale, but it makes the mere " trick of 
the weapon" superior to the noblest 
cause and the truest courage. Its pre- 
tense of equality is a lie it is equal in 
all the form, it is unjust in all the sub- 
stance the habitude of arms, the early 
training, the frontier life, the border war, 
the sectional custom, the life of leisure, 
all these are advantages which no nego- 
tiation can neutralize, and which no 
courage can overcome. 

But, fellow-citizens, the protest is not 
only spoken in your words and in mine 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

it is written in indelible characters ; it is 
written in the blood of Gilbert, in the 
blood of Ferguson, in the blood of Brod- 
erick ; and the inscription will not alto- 
gether fade. 

With the administration of the code 
in this particular case, I am not here to 
deal. Amid passionate grief, let us strive 
to be just. I give no currency to rumors 
of which personally I know nothing; 
there are other tribunals to which they 
may well be referred, and this is not one 
of them. But I am here to say, that 
whatever in the code of honor or out of 
it demands or allows a deadly combat 
where there is not in all things entire 
and certain equality, is a prostitution of 
the name, is an evasion of the substance, 
and is a shield blazoned with the name 
of Chivalry, to cover the malignity of 

And now, as the shadows turn toward 
the east, and we prepare to bear these 
poor remains to their silent resting-place, 


The Broderick Oration. 

let us not seek to repress the generous 
pride which prompts a recital of noble 
deeds and manly virtues. He rose un- 
aided and alone; he began his career 
without family or fortune, in the face of 
difficulties; he inherited poverty and 
obscurity; he died a Senator in Congress, 
having written his name in the history 
of the great struggle for the rights of 
the people against the despotism of 
organization and the corruption of power. 
He leaves in the hearts of his friends 
the tenderest and the proudest recollec- 
tions. He was honest, faithful, earnest, 
sincere, generous, and brave : he felt in 
all the great crises of his life that he 
was a leader in the ranks; that it was his 
high duty to uphold the interests of the 
masses ; that he could not falter. When 
he returned from that fatal field, while 
the dark wing of the Archangel of Death 
was casting its shadows upon his brow, 
his greatest anxiety was as to the per- 
formance of his duty. He felt that all 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

his strength and all his life belonged 
to the cause to which he had devoted 
them. "Baker," said he and to me 
they were his last words " Baker, when 
I was struck I tried to stand firm, but the 
blow blinded me, and I could not." I 
trust it is no shame to my manhood that 
tears blinded me as he said it. Of his 
last hour I have no heart to speak. He 
was the last of his race ; there was no 
kindred hand to smooth his couch or wipe 
the death damp from his brow ; but around 
that dying bed strong men, the friends of 
early manhood, the devoted adherents of 
later life, bowed in irrepressible grief, 
"and lifted up their voices and wept." 

But, fellow-citizens, the voice of lamen- 
tation is not uttered by private friend- 
ship alone the blow that struck his 
manly breast has touched the heart of a 
people, and as the sad tidings spread, a 
general gloom prevails. Who now shall 
speak for California ? who be the inter- 
preter of the wants of the Pacific Coast ? 


The Broderick Oration. 

Who can appeal to the communities of 
the Atlantic who love free labor ? Who 
can speak for masses of men with a pas- 
sionate love for the classes from whence 
he sprung ? Who can defy the blandish- 
ments of power, the insolence of office, 
the corruption of administrations ? What 
hopes are buried with him in the grave ! 

"Ah ! who that gallant spirit shall resume, 
Leap from Eurotas' bank, and call us from 
the tomb?" 

But the last word must be spoken, and 
the imperious mandate of Death must be 
fulfilled. Thus, O brave heart ! we bear 
thee to thy rest. Thus, surrounded by 
tens of thousands, we leave thee to the 
equal grave. As in life, no other voice 
among us so rung its trumpet blast upon 
the ear of freemen, so in death its echoes 
will reverberate amid our mountains and 
valleys, until truth and valor cease to 
appeal to the human heart. 

Good friend! true hero! hail and 



WE come to the most triumphant effort of Baker's 
life the most triumphant, in that he never stood forth 
the conqueror as on that occasion, and never so proudly 
waved his unchallenged banner. It has already appeared 
how, so unexpectedly and swiftly, the valley of defeat had 
been left and the summit of victory reached. The orator 
alludes to the sharp turns of fortune more than once in this 
great effort, known universally as " The American Tneater 
Speech," in which, among many fine passages, occurs the 
impassioned tribute to Freedom, and with which speech 
alone his name is associated in the minds of thousands. 
The roomy oM theater, long since demolished, stood 
where now is Halleck Block, on the northeasterly corner 
of Sansome and Halleck streets. The orator was passing 
through San Francisco to Washington City, in his pocket 
his credentials from Oregon as her Senator. At a recep- 
tion by his friends he declined to make a speech, but he 
had a surprise for F. F. Low (who was to be Governor of 
the State a few years later). When Baker was electrifying 
the masses of the State on the stump, not a year before, 
Low, then a banker at Marysville, had enthusiastically 
promised him a fine suit of clothes, " when you take your 
seat in Congress." When defeat came, Low thought no 
more of the matter. Baker, now a Senator from another 
commonwealth, met the Marysville banker at the San 
Francisco reception, and said, "Low, I '11 take that suit of 
clothes." Of course, he was accommodated. The American 
Theater speech was delivered on the evening of the same 
day, October 26, 1860. Baker was never so animated. It 
was the liveliest meeting he ever addressed, the ladies 
more than filling the dress circle. 



I OWE more thanks than my life can 
repay ; and I wish all Oregon were here 
to-night. We are a quiet, earnest, pas- 
toral people, but by the banks of the 
Willamette there are many whose hearts 
would beat high as yours if they were 
here. I owe you much, but I owe more 
to Oregon. [Laughter.] My heart is 
very full and very glad. Oregon regards 
herself as one with California the inter- 
ests of the Pacific as the same, whether 
at the mouth of the Columbia or the 
Golden Gate. More than that, she be- 
lieves that the interests of the Union are 
one, and she intends to stand by it. 

Just when I ought to make the best 
speech of my life, I know I'll make the 
very worst. Four years ago this night, 
in front of this very house, I had the 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

honor to attempt to lay a little deeper 
and broader the principles of Republi- 
canism by trying to show why we should 
elect as President an eminent citizen, 
who, I believe, is here to-night [turning 
to the box where sat John C. Fremont, 
with his family]. We were a young and 
untried party then. I recollect saying 
then, that, as "Revolutions never go 
backwards," whoever became a Republi- 
can then would remain one. We have 
lost nobody since, and are gaining every- 
body. [Laughter.] I know we are going 
to win. All signs in heaven and earth 
approve it. Still, on the eve of battle, 
though in every skirmish they have 
shown superiority, the leader may well 
pass before the line ; and if I might 
assume that position for a single mo- 
ment, as the shouts of victory echo from 
wing to wing, from front to rear, I would 
pass along to assure the fearful and 
confirm the bold. [Applause.] 

They used to say that we were a sec- 


The American Theater Speech. 

tional party. We sectional ! Who, then, 
is national? Breckinridge will get no 
State at the North, and the Bell and 
Everett men say he will get none at the 
South. [Laughter.] Sectional, are we ? 
We used to reply: First, freedom can't, 
be sectional ; it must be national. [Here 
there was some struggle near the door. 
"Heavens! let us get out we're swel- 
tering!" cried a voice. "You can't stir 
a peg you must stand it," answered 
another. Soon all was quiet again.] 

But they used to affirm that, as a party, 
we mean to deal unfairly with a portion 
of the States. When have we said or 
intimated anything of the sort? If we 
are not yet represented in every State, 
whose fault is it? They won't let us go 
South to make Republicans. [Laugh- 
ter.] Mr. Douglas intimates that Mr. 
Lincoln can't go South to see his mother. 
But in this view of the matter we are 
getting over our sectionalism very fast. 
Have you heard from St. Louis? Have 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

you ever heard of Frank Blair ? Have 
you heard anything from Western Vir- 
ginia?* Anything from the poor white 
folks of the South? If it is sectional 
not to get many votes in one section, 
how many will Breckinridge get in New 
York? All he will get there will be by 
pretending not to run. [Laughter.] How 
many votes will he get in Illinois? Will 
he get half as many votes in Illinois as 
Lincoln will in Missouri? 

But I prefer to test it in another way. 
I deny that in the beginning, or in the 
end, we desire to interfere with slavery 
in any way where it exists by law. I 
deny that we desire to interfere with 
slavery in the Territories where it has 
been put there by the people. And as 
a party and as individuals we have more 
interest in preserving the Union than you 
have. We never proposed you never 
heard one of us propose to dissolve 
the Union. Many of us were old Whigs, 

* West Virginia was not yet a State. 

The American Theater Speech. 

and we have been beaten out of our 
boots not once only, but all the time. 
We deplored the election of James Bu- 
chanan as a national calamity. They got 
their President, the House, the Senate, 
the Supreme Court. They got the execu- 
tive, the legislative powers, the judiciary. 
Did you ever hear us threaten, imagine, 
or predict the dissolution of the Union? 

But how stand you Breckinridge men 
on this subject? I will not say that 
every Breckinridge man is a disunionist ; 
but I will say that every disunionist is a 
Breckinridge man. [Great laughter and 
applause.] The difference is like the 
Irishman's pronunciation in talking with 
an Englishman by the name of Footney. 
"Mr. Futney," said the Irishman, "you 
and I agree." "Very well," says Mr. 
Footney; "but my name is Footney." 
"Exactly so, Mr. Futney; Futney it is, 
then." "But, sir," says the Englishman, 
"my name is not Futney, but Footney 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

F, double o, t Footney." "By the man 
that made Moses, what is the difference 
between Futney and Futney?" [Great 
laughter.] Every disunionist, from Yan- 
cey, up and down, is a Breckinridge man. 
Here, I understand, their stump-speakers 
boldly proclaim the doctrine. The Sena- 
tor from Oregon* said: "If the South 
don't stand up for her rights" -that is, 
secede "they don't deserve to have 
them." We, on the other hand, mean 
to submit to everything, but we will have 
the Union. Oregon is the farthest from 
the center, but I believe she would be 
the last State to leave it. [Applause.] 
Yours, one of the youngest States, would 
be one of the last to leave it We don't 
mean, we won't mean, we never shall 
mean, to dissolve. It is easy to talk 
of Union when you have the offices; 
but when you haven't them, how do 
you talk? I repeat we don't propose 
to dissolve the Union, and we don't 

* General Jo Lane. 

The American Theater Speech. 

propose to let anybody else dissolve it. 

But they say, " Our sufferings are 
intolerable ; and if you elect Lincoln 
we '11 dissolve the Union ! " We propose 
to give them a chance to try it. What 
could Lincoln do without the Senate, 
and the House, and the Supreme Court, 
to make a dissolution necessary? He 
can't touch a dollar he can't appoint 
an officer he can't command a soldier 
to a single point he cannot free a slave. 
But suppose Lincoln gets the House, 
and I think he will, suppose he gets a 
majority of the Senate, too. If he gets 
a majority of the Senate and the House 
and the people, I should think it would 
be pretty hard to dissolve. Some 
of the judges of the Supreme Court 
are getting very old; but, as Jefferson 
said of judges, they never die, and few 
resign [laughter], and it will be a 
long time before the Republicans can 
get the power to do anything that the 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

public voice and conscience will not 

There is something in party platforms. 
Many will persist that we don't mean to 
admit any more slave States. We have 
no such platform. We have given no 
such votes. We have said that we will 
not interfere with slavery in the States, 
nor with freedom in the Territories. 
They say we will pass laws opposed to 
the extension of slavery into the Terri- 
tories. Well, our fathers were in that 
way Washington and Jefferson. Every- 
body was that way once ; and you are 
that way, too. The men who met to 
make the California Constitution hastened 
to dedicate free territory to free men 
forever. We have yielded somewhat of 
the sternness of our first principles in 
this matter. By the compromise of 1820 
we allowed slave States to be made out 
of territory acquired by purchase, and 
only insisted that north of a certain line 
they should not go with their slaves. 

The American Theater Speech. 

If territory was free when acquired, it 
was to be left free forever. In 1850, 
when, as Mr. Seward said, the Whig and 
Democratic parties were in a state of 
dissolution, they wanted another set of 
provisions they wanted a fugitive slave 
law. " Have n't you got one ? " we asked. 
"Yes," they answered; "we've had one 
for forty years; but your judges and 
juries ain't to be trusted." "What!" 
we exclaimed, " would you set aside all 
our system of jurisprudence?" "Ah!" 
said they, "you have a machinery called 
the habeas corpus you must give that 
up." We argued its inherent human jus- 
tice. They said that it was all very well 
for a white man, but it should not apply 
to black ones. Suppose I have a black 
horse, and it runs away from Kentucky 
into Illinois. You say he must have a 
jury to try the question to whom he 
belongs. But if my black man runs 
away, he may not have a jury trial. We 
complained that the demand was unjust; 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

but then, if you are going to dissolve the 
Union, take your nigger, and let us have 
peace. [Great laughter.] 

Well, in 1854, there was the Territory 
of Kansas. The South already had two 
thirds of the original territory dedi- 
cated to slavery; but still they grudged 
us Kansas, and passed the Nebraska Bill. 
Freedom, elastic, vigorous, growing, was 
too fast for them; it made Kansas a free 
Territory, and it would have made it a 
free State if it had not been for J. B. I 
am a Popular Sovereignty Eepublican. 
[Faint applause.] I was last year, and I 
am now. I believe in popular sover- 
eignty, not as a principle, but as a 
policy as a measure. And I don't 
believe in it because I don't care about 
slavery. I do care about slavery, I 
do, so help me God! I do care about 
freedom. But since the experiment in 
Kansas, I believe more in the capacity of 
the people to govern themselves. The 
people will not tolerate slavery on free 

The American Theater Speech. 

soil. I seize from the Douglas Demo- 
crats this weapon, which in their hands 
is a reed, but in ours a spear of fir, 
"fit for the mast of some tall Admiral." 
We will make it a great weapon for free- 
dom. Before it the slaveholders writhe 
in deep distress. They go out "and 
stand." [Laughter.] They break up their 
dearest idol the traditionary organiza- 
tion of the Democratic party. I mock 
at their calamity I laugh when their 
fear cometh. [Laughter.] Popular sov- 
ereignty means government by the peo- 
ple ; it is no odds whether they govern 
Kansas by their votes in Kansas, or the 
Union by their votes in the Union. 

Southern people claim the right to go 
wherever they choose with their prop- 
erty. I say in reply that the negro is 
not property in the general sense; he is 
property only in a sort of qualified sense. 
A negro can be property only in the face 
of the common law, humanity, religion, 
literature, and philosophy for all these 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

claim that black or white, rich or poor, 
high or low, "a man's a man for a' that." 
[Great cheering.] It is true that there 
are certain compromises of the Consti- 
tution affecting this question, which we 
all agree to abide by; but we deny that 
the negro is by common law a slave. He 
is such slave only by local law; and we 
say, catch him where you can, keep him 
where you can, hold him where you can; 
but when he gets away from your local 
law, he is free, by every instinct of hu- 
manity, and every principle of the com- 
mon law. [Applause.] We deny, then, 
that he is "property" which you have a 
right to take into the Territories, and 
you shall not carry him there against the 
common sentiment of the men among 
whom you go. Is not that fair? Can you 
overcome the argument? [Applause.] 

In my country, where our hospitality 
[great laughter and applause, which in- 
terrupted the speaker] in my country 
[renewed laughter and cheers, causing a 


The American Theater Speech. 

long pause] well, in Oregon, then! 
[Prolonged applause.] As a friend at my 
elbow suggests, if it is n't my country, 
whose country is it ? It is n't Joe Lane's, 
sure! [Tremendous applause.] In my 
country, where their hospitality is broader 
than their means of dispensing it conve- 
niently, the good people are sometimes 
put to shifts to accommodate those who 
need shelter, and it becomes necessary 
to sleep three in a bed. [Laughter.] 
Well, in traveling through the country, 
I stop at a house for the night, and I am 
told that I must sleep after that fashion 
three in a bed. We prepare to retire, 
when, looking at one of my companions 
for the night, I smell brimstone. [Here 
the Colonel sniffed the air suspiciously, 
the suggestive operation exciting a 
tumult of laughter on the part of his 
audience.] I say to him, "My good friend, 
are you from Scotland?" [Kenewed 
merriment.] He replies, "No." I look 
around feel nervous and uncornfort- 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

able and finally exclaim, "My God! 
friend, you Ve got the itch!" He says, 
"Well!" and I say "Well!" And then 
I and the third man say, "We two can't 
sleep with you, and we are in the major- 
ity; you can't come to bed at all." 
[Laughter.] The fellow rejoins, "Good 
God! has it come to this that a man 
can't go where he chooses with his own 
property?" [Renewed laughter and long 
continued applause.] Well, gentlemen, I 
have illustrated you apply! Slavery is 
the itch to free labor, and we say it ought 
not to be carried into the Territories 
against the will of the free men who go 
there. [Great cheering.] 

The normal condition of the Terri- 
tories is freedom. Stand on the edge of 
the Sierra Nevadas, or upon the brow 
of any eminence looking down into the 
Territories beyond, and what do you 
behold? You find there the savage, the 
wild beast, and the wilderness, but you 
do not find slavery; and if it gets there, 


The American Theater Speech. 

it goes there by your local law. The 
Western man goes into the Territories 
with his family, his horses, his oxen, 
his ax and other implements of labor. 
The Southern man goes with his slave. 
The Western man says, " I can't work by 
the side of the slave he degrades my free 
labor." And the Irishman or German 
(who don't go South to find employment) 
says, " I can't work by the side of the 
slave either it degrades my labor." 
And these free laborers say, " Let us all 
go to work together and get Congress to 
make a law to do what Madison did 
turn the negro out ; and if they don't do 
it, we will do it for ourselves!" But 
the Southern man says, "No, you don't! 
I 've got the Dred Scott decision in my 
pocket, which holds that neither Con- 
gress nor the Territorial Legislature, nor 
any human power can remove human 
slavery from the Territories ; that it goes 
there protected by the Constitution of 
the United States, and there it must 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

remain; and now, therefore, I tell you 
Irishman, and German, and Western man, 
that your ideas of popular sovereignty 
and free labor are all humbug!" So 
says the slave-owner. Now, you Douglas 
Democrats, what are you going to do 
about this ? Some of you say you don't 
care. I say you do care, for you can't 
help caring ; first, because you are a man, 
and you feel that whatever affects human- 
ity affects you. It is absurd to say that 
you don't care. There are four million 
slaves, and they are increasing. The fell 
influence of slavery is paralyzing the 
interests of freedom and free labor, and 
checking the advance of the whole 
country. It denies us legislation; it 
defeats our Pacific Railroad, and with- 
holds the daily overland mail. If free- 
dom is right, and popular sovereignty is 
right, sustain them like men ; and sustain 
those alone through whom you can give 
it practical effect; if they are not right, 
abandon them. I would not make war, 


The American Theater Speech. 

revolutionize the Government, dissolve 
the Union, or nullify the decisions of the 
Supreme Court. If that Court says a 
negro is not a citizen, I submit; but I 
say to Douglas men, " Let 's attack the 
Supreme Court and reform it!" [Ap- 
plause.] This is not nullification. We 
will obey the decision of the Supreme 
Court in this particular case ; but as soon 
as God in his wisdom takes Taney and 
the rest of them to himself, we will, with 
the help of honest Lincoln put better 
men in their places, and thus reverse the 
Court by the verdict of the people. 
[Great cheers.] What will you Douglas 
men do? Will you hear the music of 
the march of freedom, and stand idly by, 
or turn a deaf ear ? We have the right 
and duty thus lawfully and peacefully to 
reverse a decision which puts a construc- 
tion upon the Constitution that is higher 
than the Constitution itself, especially 
when that decision relates to personal 
liberty. I say that a decision which 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

claims that by the Constitution slavery 
goes everywhere the flag goes, there to 
be and remain forever, is treason against 
human hope. [Tremendous applause.] 
You Douglas men, you will vote for pop- 
ular sovereignty, will you? Now, how 
will you do it? What State will you 
carry? Perhaps California [cries of 
"No, No!"] and Missouri. What good 
will that do you? You can accomplish 
nothing. Come to us, then, and we will 
do you good. We will stand with you, 
and use popular sovereignty effectually, 
as a great engine of freedom. 

There are people who talk as though 
we Republicans were doing the South 
some grievous wrong. How? When? 
Where? They forget that freedom and 
free labor are the great interests of the 
country. There are only about two hun- 
dred and seventy thousand white men 
who have a direct interest in human 
slavery. Will legislating, then, for thirty 
million of free white men, instead of for 


The American Theater Speech. 

the exclusive interest of two hundred 
and seventy thousand, be a cause for dis- 
union? There are poor white men in 
the South as well as in the North, who 
have an interest in this question of free 
labor, and we stand for the interests of 
free labor everywhere the world over, 
wherever a bright eye sparkles, or a 
bright idea gives forth its light! [Ap- 
plause.] Every country has a bright 
idea peculiar to itself. In England it 
is the commercial idea; in France, the 
military idea; here, freedom, free labor. 
[Applause.] Why not assert it, then? 
Guard it, protect it, dignify it, ennoble 
it! Do you want slave labor? Do you 
believe in these Dred Scott notions, and 
do you want the Constitution to carry 
slavery with you and fasten it upon you 
when you go to Arizona or other Terri- 
tory? I ask you, citizens of foreign 
birth, you, young German, let me sup- 
pose that you have been in America for 
five years, and you go back to the old 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

home across the seas and give an account 
of your journeyings. You tell your 
old father that you have been in Cali- 
fornia, Oregon, Iowa. He says to you, 
"Well, John, I suppose you have been 
down into that fertile State, Virginia?" 
You answer, "No," and he asks, "Why 
not? " "Because they have slaves there." 
"That's right, John," he says; "don't 
go where there are slaves. You started 
for a free country, John, and you were 
right to keep away from where they hold 
human beings in bondage. But what are 
your politics, John?" "I am a Demo- 
crat." "A Democrat! Well, I suppose 
that means in America just what it does 
in Europe the opposite of aristocracy. 
The Democrat demands equal rights for 
all men. And what other party is there, 
John?" "The Eepublican party," you 
reply. "That 's a good name, too, John; 
but what is the difference between the 
Democrats and the Republicans?" And 
you go on to explain that Democracy in 

The American Theater Speech. 

the United States means equal rights to 
all sectiom, and Republicanism means 
equal rights to all men, but that you have 
clung to the Democratic party all your 
time in America, because of party name 
and organization, and old associations. 
"What!" says the old man, who looks 
straight at the propositions you have pre- 
sented. "John," he observes, "didn't 
you use tc love freedom? And in the 
Revolution of 1848 were you not ready 
to die for it? And could you, after all 
that, go over to the United States to 
sneak after the supporters of human 
slavery and help them carry it wherever 
they choose, to curse free territory with 
its blight, and then call it Democracy?" 

Suppose we keep all the Territories 
for freedom, who is hurt? We do only 
what our fathers did. We strike for 
freedom. We struggle for free labor. 
We act in the eyes of the world as 
becomes a free people. The South has 
already more slave territory than she 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

can scratch over in three hundred years. 
They are engaged in a struggle in which 
they have no sympathy from gods, angels, 
or man. They say to the North, "You 
may take the offices, or at least a good 
many of them for we can wind you 
around our fingers as we like; but we 
must take our slaves where we choose." 
And in this struggle who are they going 
to take with them? First, they will take 
a part of the South; second, all of the 
office-holders of the North; and third, 
nobody else! [Laughter.] The Democ- 
racy of the North, other than the office- 
holders, all go for Douglas, and, as to 
the office-holders we shall soon turn them 
out Who else sympathizes with the 
slaveholders in this emergency? Does 
Germany? Kussia? England? Spain? 
Mexico? When, after the Mexican War, 
the Commissioners met near Mexico City, 
to make a treaty of peace, they said to 
Mr. Trist, "We are a conquered people; 
you can do with us what you please ; but 

The American Theater Speech. 

we implore you, do not force slavery on 

When we are reproached for being 
Black Republicans, in what company do 
they put us? With whom? In California 
who are with us? The intelligence, the 
wealth, the beauty, the growing power, 
the convictions of right and of duty are 
with us. Who are you, wandering, drift- 
ing, shifting, fusing, dividing, half Breck- 
inridge, half Douglas, now here, now 
there [swaying his figure from side to 
side], wno are you? Abolition chokes 
in your throat! For us it always thun- 
ders on the right; and you on which 
side do you hear the thunder? Take 
this city and in it the churches, the 
schoolhouses, the pretty women, the 
good, are on our side. [Laughter.] 
With you, if you want your cotton 
cleaned, you come to us for cotton-gins. 
I do not mean to cast any reproach upon 
the people of the South. They are a 
hospitable, a generous people. There 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

are disunionists among them, it is true, 
but the masses are sound, and I know 
they do love the country God bless 
them! the whole country. But in much 
that makes up national greatness and 
excellence, they are lamentably deficient. 
In deep philosophy, in inspired poetry, 
they are lacking. The books we write, 
they read,* the lectures we deliver, they 
hear; Bancroft and Prescott write their 
history for them; Bryant and Longfellow 
write their poetry. [Applause.] Even 
where despotism is rife, ideas of personal 
liberty are thriving. Even under the 
shadow of the throne of Russia; on the 
banks of the Seine, where the ashes of 

*"We can imagine what a passionate tumult must 
have been excited by the propositions [of Madame de 
Stael] that literature has relations most intimate and 
most essential to public virtue, liberty, glory, and felicity ; 
that a law of progression is imposed on human destiny, 
raising the level of manners and of literature from epoch 
to epoch ; that this progression is indefinite, and advances 
with the growth of institutions that is to say, with the 
tendency to republican government and republican man- 
ners, and will have for its distinctive character the 
triumph of the serious spirit of the North over the frivo- 
lous spirit of the South." Vinet'8 Studies upon the French 
Literature of the Nineteenth Century. 

The American Theater Speech. 

the first Napoleon repose; where the 
British Queen in majestic dignity pre- 
sides over a nation of freemen every- 
where abroad, the great ideas of personal 
liberty spread, increase, fructify. Here 
ours is the exception! In this home of 
the exile, in this land of constitutional 
liberty, it is left for us to teach the 
world that slavery marches in solemn 
procession! that under the American 
stars slavery is protected, and the name 
of freedom must be faintly breathed, the 
songs of freedom be faintly sung! Gari- 
baldi, Victor Emanuel, hosts of good men 
are praying, fighting, dying on scaffolds, 
in dungeons, oftener yet on battle-fields, 
for freedom; and yet while this great 
procession moves under the arches of 
liberty, we alone shrink back trembling 
and afraid when freedom is but men- 
tioned! [Terrific cheers.] 

[While the people were cheering, a 
Mr. Hart, who sat on the platform, ap- 
parently carried away with enthusiasm, 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

rushed to the footlights, and with ex- 
tended arms and loud voice, exclaimed, 
"It is true! it is true! We are slaves, 
compared to the rest of the world." 
Then, pale as a ghost, he staggered back 
to his seat, the people continuing to cheer 
vociferously. The orator, meanwhile, was 
consulting a friend as to the time. He 
had been speaking an hour and a half.] 

The interest of the South is identical 
the slave interest belongs to the whole 
of it in common, and alone. Our inter- 
ests are diversified; they lie in cattle, 
stocks, lands, manufactures; but all are 
connected with free labor. Whatever 
great measure comes before the nation 
develops the hostility of the South, be- 
cause it conflicts with their one interest. 
The Pacific Railroad is a striking ex- 
ample. We have been children of the 
dispersion; longing and lingering, with 
eyes turned to the East, which many 
of us shall never see again. We have 
prayed and sighed for a railroad; we 


The American Theater Speech. 

have studied the whole matter through; 
we have showed how States would spring 
up along its route ; we have demonstrated 
how it might be built and where; we 
have pointed out the reasons why we 
ought to enjoy the benefits of a ready 
communication with the East. Pierce 
professed to recommend the road; Bu- 
chanan professed to recommend it We 
have asked for bread, and they have 
given us a stone; for fish, and they have 
given us a serpent. Even while I am 
speaking, a Breckinridge convention in 
Virginia is resolving against any railroad, 
in any way. If, four years ago, we had 
elected Fremont, in four months after, he 
would have recommended a railroad, and 
would have sent two regiments of dra- 
goons in the meanwhile to tramp the 
track [Cheers.] He would not have 
recommended a mere military road, but 
a railroad at once. He would have had 
no constitutional scruples himself, and 
would not have tolerated them in any 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

one else. He would not, as this man 
has done, have hesitated because some- 
body said that Mason, or Toombs, or 
somebody else, did not like it. There 
is not a more incorruptible man in the 
world, I believe, than Fremont; but if 
anybody had been corrupted, I assure 
you it would have been in favor of and 
not against the railroad. [Laughter and 

We are running a man now by the 
name of Lincoln [cheers] who will do 
the same thing. He is an honest, good, 
simple-minded, true man, who is a hero 
without knowing it. If he recommends 
a railroad, and he will, he won't 
twaddle about it. But his hands must 
be upheld and strengthened by you. 
You must send men to Congress who 
will not feel that the "peculiar institu- 
tion" is the only institution there is. 

But what is true of the sentiments of 
the South toward a railroad, is true also 
of a homestead. What does she care for 

The American Theater Speech. 

a homestead? She never expects to use 
it. What does she care about a cordon 
of homes stretched from the Missouri to 
the Eocky Mountains, and from the Rocky 
Mountains to the Sierra Nevada? She 
is in another line of business. See Vir- 
ginia, once the mother of Presidents and 
statesmen, now engaged in slave-breed- 
ing! rearing little niggers to send 
farther South! She cares nothing about 
a homestead. But the German immigrant 
does the men from Norway and Sweden 
do. Our interests are not hers, at least, 
they are not the interests of her slave- 
holders, and they, so long as they can 
control them, will give the votes of fifteen 
slave States against a homestead. But 
there is coming a change. One day this 
month Oregon elected a Eepublican Sen- 
ator; and the next day her Democratic 
Legislature instructed him to vote for a 
homestead law.* [Cheers.] 

*This statement seems a little artful, and may be ex- 
plained. If it could be said that the Oregon Legislature 
was Democratic, it was yet the same body which elected 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Now, when we get the power, as we 
will, we propose to interfere with no 
Constitutional compacts; we shall organ- 
ize no John Brown raids; if some John 
Brown should go down and whip Vir- 
ginia, and get hung for it, it shall not be 
our fault, but his misfortune; and while 
we stand by and let them hang the John 
Browns, we shall take the hint, follow 
the wholesome example, and hang every 
traitor who sets to work in earnest to 
dissolve the Union. [Applause.] But the 
majority must rule, and that is the end 
of the whole matter. [Laughter.] 

But here somebody recovers his wits 
and seems to address me "Colonel 

Baker Senator. The latter, defeated in California in 
November, 1859, removed to Oregon in February, 1860. 
The Legislature of that State convened in the following 
September, being divided into three nearly equal ele- 
ments, Douglas Democrats, Administration Democrats, 
and Republicans, the first named leading slightly. There 
were two Senators to be chosen one for a term of which 
a year and a half had expired, and one for a full term of 
six years from the 4th of March next coming. By a 
combination between the Douglas Democrats and the 
Republicans, Nesmith and Baker were elected, Baker 
taking the place already vacant, and proceeding at once 
to Washington via ^an Francisco. 

The American Theater Speech. 

Baker, what say you at Se ward's 'irre- 
pressible conflict'?" Why, this: If Mr. 
Seward had that opinion, I think he did 
right to express it. And, I apprehend, 
it 's your opinion, too. [Laughter.] You 
don't think slavery is going to last for- 
ever. God is too good for that. A thou- 
sand years are as one day in his sight, 
and it may take some time for slavery 
utterly to decay! I hope disease won't 
last always ; I don't know that death will. 
I very much doubt if slavery will. You 
Breckinridge men, if there is a little vein 
of piety in you, inherited from your 
mother [laughter], even you must hope 
that slavery will be abolished some day. 
Henry Clay and he was no Abolitionist 
used to felicitate himself that, by the 
freed slaves of our land, civilization would 
yet be carried to the banks of the Niger. 
Bead Pope's "Messiah" I don't know 
that Pope was an Abolitionist though 
inspired poets are apt to be. [Applause.] 
Homer was, Shakespeare was, the Bible 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

was, and Pope would be in very good 
company if he was. So long as there 
is a slave and a master in the world, the 
slave's heart will throb for freedom. Edu- 
cate him, and he will fight for it; nerve 
him, and he will die for it; and you, to 
save your soul, can't help saying "Hurrah 
for the weaker side!" [Cheers.] I would 
shoulder my rifle to suppress insurrec- 
tion; and yet in my own impulses, in the 
depth of my own reflection, I feel that if 
Mr. Seward, looking forward with the eye 
of statesmanship and philosophy, said the 
conflict was irrepressible, God go with 
him ! I indorse the sentiment. [Tremen- 
dous cheers.] 

But my inquiring friend forgets how 
Mr. Seward qualified the remark that 
it was by and under the Constitution, 
and not otherwise, that the conflict was 
to go on. And at last it is but the opinion 
of a great philosopher and statesman 
referring the matter to an all-wise Provi- 


The American Theater Speech. 

Up in my country we often see men 
afraid of being suspected of sympathiz- 
ing too much with the negro. One was 
saying there the other day "I ain't one of 
your d d Abolitionists; why, my uncle 
had a nigger." [Laughter.] Now, I am 
very willing to, and I will confess I 
have a sympathy with the negro race, with 
all slaves, with all who are in sorrow 
and misfortune and would to God I 
could deliver them all! [Applause.] I 
have sympathy with a man who has a 
scolding wife, or a smoky chimney, or the 
fever and ague; though I might not 
advise my friend to whip his wife, or 
pull down his chimney, or take arsenic for 
his fever and ague nor do I feel myself 
bound to run a tilt to free all negroes. 
When I go to church, and the preacher 
says, "Have mercy upon all men!" I 
don't respond, "Good Lord! upon all 
white men!" They make the mistake of 
supposing that if we have human feelings, 
we are plotting against them. "We live 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

in a land of constitutional law. What- 
ever is nominated in the bond, we abide. 
If I own ten thousand cattle, worth one 
hundred thousand dollars, I have but 
one vote, and that is my own. If another 
owns one hundred negroes, worth one 
hundred thousand dollars, he has sixty 
votes; the ownership of five negroes con- 
veys the right of three votes equals the 
representative power of three white men. 

That is hard, but it is in the bond, and 
we abide it. It is hard to compel me 
to give up to slavery a man on your 
simple affidavit that he is a slave. But 
it is in the compact, and we stand it. 

There need be no fear of intestine 
feuds; there need be no threats of dis- 
union. In the presence of God, I say 
it reverently, freedom is the rule, and 
slavery the exception. It is a marked, 
guarded, perfected exception. There it 
stands ! If public opinion must not touch 
its dusky cheek too roughly, be it so; 
but we will go no further than the terms 


The American Theater Speech. 

of the compact. We are a city set on a 
hill. Our light cannot be hid. As for 
me, I dare not, I will not be false to free- 
dom! [Applause.] Where in youth my 
feet were planted, there my manhood 
and my age shall march. I will walk 
beneath her banner. I will glory in her 
strength. I have seen her, in history, 
struck down on a hundred chosen fields 
of battle. I have seen her friends fly 
from her; I have seen her foes gather 
around her; I have seen them bind her 
to the stake ; I have seen them give her 
ashes to the winds, regathering them that 
they might scatter them yet more widely. 
But when they turned to exult, I have 
seen her again meet them face to face, 
clad in complete steel, and brandishing 
in her strong right hand a naming sword 
red with insufferable light! [Vehement 
cheering.] And I take courage. The 
Genius of America will at last lead her 
sons to freedom! [Great applause.] 
People of California! you meet soon, 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

as is your custom every four years, to 
conduct a peaceful revolution. There is 
no danger here. Disunion is far away. 
The popular heart is right. It is a plain, 
honest, simple duty you have to perform. 
All the omens are good, and the best of 
omens is a good cause. On the Pacific 
coast we have labored long; we have been 
scoffed, beleaguered, and beset. One 
year ago, I, your champion, in your fair 
State, my own State then, was beaten in 
a fair contest! With my heart somewhat 
bruised, my ambition crushed, one week 
later I stood by the body of my friend 
Broderick, slaughtered in your cause, 
and I said "How long?" [Sensation.] 
The tide is turned. The warrior, indeed, 
rests. He knows no waking; nor word, 
nor wish, nor prayer, can call him from 
his lone abode. I speak to those who 
loved him; and in another and higher 
arena I shall try to speak for him [a rum- 
ble of applause, increasing at last to a 
great demonstration], and I shall say 


The American Theater Speech. 

that the people who loved him so well, 
and among whom his ashes rest, are not 
forgetful of the manner of his life, or the 
method of his death. 

People of San Francisco! you make 
me very happy and very proud. Your 
kind words cheer, as they have often 
cheered before. Another State, generous 
and confiding beyond any man's deserts, 
has placed me where I may serve both 
her and you. And now, thanking you 
again and again, I bid you a cordial, 
affectionate, heartfelt farewell. [The 
whole audience arose and cheered and 
cheered again. It was half after ten, 
and the orator had spoken two hours 
and a quarter.] 


ONLY ten days were to intervene between the delivery 
of the American Theater speech and the Presidential 
election, but the speech was at once put in type- and scat- 
tered over the State as a campaign document. Abraham 
Lincoln's election as President followed, Baker's two States 
voting for him. The new Senator proceeded to Washing- 
ton City, and was sworn in on Wednesday, the 5th of 
December, 1860, for an unexpired term to end on the 3d 
of March, 1865. It was under the caption of "New Sena- 
tor " that the official " Congressional Globe" recorded the 
fact of his qualification, Senator Latham, of California, 
presenting his credentials. Just four weeks later, on 
Wednesday, the 2d of January, 1861, in the new arena of 
his fame, he made the first of his two remarkable and 
celebrated "Replies" the "Reply to Benjamin." No 
intelligent visitor, uninformed on the point, could have 
mistaken him for a " new Senator" then. He was never 
more fluent and self-possessed, and commanded the undi- 
vided attention, the unqualified admiration, of the Senate 
from beginning to end. Indeed, this reply, and that to 
Breckinridge, that was soon to follow, are among the 
most powerful performances in debate in the history of 
the American Congress. 

It was in the closing days of the last Congress before 
the War of the Rebellion. The Southern Senators and 
Representatives were beginning to leave their seats. In 
sixty days President Lincoln was to be inaugurated, and, 
in sixty more, the South was to be in open revolt, and the 
country in actual war. Messrs. Slidell and Benjamin of 
Louisiana were to withdraw from the Senate on February 
5th. On December 13th, Senator Johnson, of Tennessee, 
(who became President in 1865,) had offered a joint reso- 
lution, proposing certain amendments to the Constitution. 
These provided that the President and Vice-president 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

should be chosen by the people, by Congressional districts, 
each district to have one vote. The resulting debate, 
which covered a period of weeks, was directed, generally, 
to the critical condition of the country. Senator Benja- 
min concluded a great speech on the subject, on the clos- 
ing day of the year. Senator Baker took the floor to reply 
on January 2d. 

At the morning hour appointed for Baker to begin his 
speech Senator Gwin, of California, reminded the Senate 
that the bill passed by the lower house for a Pacific rail- 
road, would come up at two o'clock that afternoon, as the 
special order of the day; and he said that perhaps the 
Oregon Senator would not be able to conclude before that 

Senator Douglas, of Illinois, who had given notice of 
a speech by him for the following day, also suggested that 
he and the Oregon Senator might clash. There was con- 
siderable discussion as to what should be the order of 
precedence, which Baker interrupted to say: 

" I did not quite hear what the honorable Senator 
from California said upon the subject of the Pacific rail- 
road bill, which I understand to be the special order for 
to-day at two o'clock ; but, coming from the Pacific coast, 
I feel it my duty to say, promptly and decidedly, that I 
cannot feel for an instant that any word of mine for the 
Union and the perpetuity of free government on this con- 
tinent can compare in importance or value with the 
Pacific railroad bill, which, in my judgment, is an act 
tending to make perpetual the union of these States. 
Therefore, I yield any pretension that I may have to the 
floor now, at two o'clock, at any time, or, if need be, 
forever, that that bill may pass." 

It was then Thursday. It was moved that the special 
order be postponed to Saturday, and that the floor be 
reserved for Senator Douglas on Monday. During the dis- 
cussion Senator Trumbull, of Illinois, who knew what 
was in the old Illinois Whig, showed much concern lest 
something should occur to postpone for some days, or 
perhaps indefinitely, the delivery of the expected effort 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

He said in plain terms, that certain Senators were wasting 
time. Baker again arose, and with that delightful urban- 
ity that was one of his principal forces, said : 

"Quite unused to the courtesies of the Senate, and 
quite willing to submit to its habit, I feel myself entirely 
unable to discuss these questions of precedence or regu- 
larity, and profess myself totally indifferent at what time 
I speak, or when I speak, or really whether I speak at all. 
I will give way to the Senator from Illinois, or the Senator 
from California, or to the Pacific railroad bill. I submit 
myself entirely to the courtesy and justice of the Senate." 

The plan to clear the way for Baker was at length 
agreed to unanimously. He took the floor, and entertained 
the Senate with the best speech it had heard (in the judg- 
ment of many discriminating minds) since the days of 
Webster. Not until then did his warmest admirers on the 
Pacific know of the rapidity of his mental processes. He 
promptly grasped the scepter in debate. He spoke then, 
as on lesser occasions, in that atmosphere of enthusiasm 
in which he lived. He stood an intellectual master in 
that great presence, and every mind deferred to his per- 
suasive authority. 



MR. PRESIDENT, the adventurous trav- 
eler who wanders on the slopes of the 
Pacific, and on the very verge of civili- 
zation, stands awestruck in that great 
chasm formed by the torrent of the Co- 
lumbia, as, rushing between Mount Hood 
and Mount St. Helen's, it breaks through 
the ridges of the Cascade Mountains to 
find the sea. Nor is his wonder lessened 
when he hears his slightest tone repeated 
and re-echoed with a larger utterance in 
reverberations that lose themselves at 
last amid the surrounding and distant 
hills. So I, standing on this spot, and 
speaking for the first time in this cham- 
ber, reflect with astonishment that my 
feeblest word is re-echoed, even while I 
speak, to the confines of the Eepublic. 
I trust, sir, that in so speaking, in the 
midst of such an auditory, and in the 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

presence of great events, I may remember 
all the responsibility these impose upon 
me to perform my duty to the Constitu- 
tion of the United States, which I have 
sworn to support, and to be in no wise 
forgetful of my obligation to the whole 
country, of which I am a devoted and 
affectionate son. 

It is my purpose to reply, as I may, 
to the speech of the honorable and dis- 
tinguished Senator from the State of 
Louisiana. I do so because it is, in my 
judgment at least, the ablest speech which 
I have heard, perhaps the ablest I shall 
hear, upon that side of the question; 
because it is respectful in tone and ele- 
vated in manner; and because, while it 
will be my fortune to differ from him 
upon many nay, most of the points to 
which he has addressed himself, it is not, 
I trust, inappropriate for me to say that 
much of what he has said, and the manner 
in which he has said it, has tended to 
increase the personal respect nay, I 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

may say, the admiration which I have 
learned to feel for him. And yet, sir, 
while I say this, I am reminded of the 
saying of a great man Dr. Johnson, I 
believe who, when he was asked for 
his critical opinon upon a book just then 
published, and which was making a great 
sensation in London, said: "Sir, the 
fellow who has written that has done 
very well what nobody ought ever to do 
at all." 

The entire object of the speech is, as I 
understand it, to offer a philosophical 
and Constitutional disquisition to prove 
that the Government of these United 
States is, in point of fact, no government 
at all ; that it has no principle of vitality ; 
that it is to be overturned by a touch, 
dwindled into insignificance by a doubt, 
dissolved by a breath ; not by maladmin- 
istration merely, but in consequence of 
organic defects, interwoven with its very 

But, sir, this purpose strange and 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

mournful in anybody, still more so in 
him this purpose has a terrible signifi- 
cance now and here. In the judgment of 
the honorable Senator, the Union is this 
day dissolved ; it is broken and disinte- 
grated; civil war is a consequence at 
once necessary and inevitable. Standing 
in the Senate chamber, he speaks like a 
prophet of woe. The burden of the pre- 
diction is the echo of what the distin- 
guished gentleman now presiding in that 
chair has said before [Mr. Iverson in 
the chair] Too late ! too late ! " The 
gleaming and lurid lights of war flash 
around his brow, even while he speaks. 
And, sir, if it were not for the exquisite 
amenity of his tone and his manner, we 
could easily persuade ourselves that we 
saw the flashing of the armor of the 
soldier beneath the robe of the Senator. 

My purpose is far different; sir, I 
think it is far higher. I desire to con- 
tribute my poor argument to maintain 
the dignity, the honor of the Government 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

under which I live, and beneath whose 
august shadow I hope to die. I propose, 
in opposition to all that has been said, 
to show that the Government of the 
United States is in very deed a real, sub- 
stantial power, ordained by the people, 
not dependent upon States ; sovereign in 
its sphere ; a union, and not a compact 
between sovereign States ; that, according 
to its true theory, it has the inherent 
capacity of self -protection ; that its Con- 
stitution is a perpetuity, beneficent, 
unfailing, grand; and that its powers 
are equally capable of exercise against 
domestic treason and against foreign foes. 
Such, sir, is the main purpose of my 
speech; and what I may say additional 
to this, will be drawn from me in reply 
to the speech to which I propose now to 
address myself. 

Sir, the argument of the honorable 
Senator from Louisiana is addressed 
first I will not say mainly to establish 
the proposition that the State of South 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Carolina, having, as he says, seceded, has 
seceded from this Union rightfully; and, 
sir, just here he says one thing, at least, 
which meets my hearty approval and 
acquiescence. He says he does not deem 
it such is the substance of the remark 
unwise or improper to argue the right 
of the case even now and here. In this 
I agree with him most heartily. 

Eight and duty are always majestic 
ideas. They march an invisible guard 
in the van of all true progress; they 
animate the loftiest spirit in the pub- 
lic assemblies; they nerve the arm of 
the warrior ; they kindle the soul of the 
statesman and the imagination of the 
poet; they sweeten every reward; they 
console every defeat. Sir, they are of 
themselves an indissoluble chain, which 
binds feeble, erring humanity to the 
eternal throne of God. I meet the dis- 
cussion in that spirit. I defer to that 

I observe, sir, first, that the argument of 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

the gentleman, from beginning to end, m 
based upon the assumption that the Con- 
stitution of the United States is a compact 
between sovereign States. I think I in 
no sense misapprehend it; I am sure such 
cannot be my desire. I understand him, 
throughout the whole tone of his speech, 
to maintain that proposition that the 
Constitution of the United States is a com- 
pact between sovereign States. Arguing 
from thence, he arrives at the conclusion 
that being so, a compact, when broken 
by either of the other States, or by the 
General Government, the creature of the 
Constitution, South Carolina or Louisiana 
may treat the compact as broken, the 
contract as rescinded; may withdraw 
peacefully from the Union, and resume 
her original condition. 

I remark next, that this proposition is 
in no wise new ; and perhaps for that, as 
it is a Constitutional proposition, it is 
all the better; and again, the argument 
by which the honorable Senator seeks 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

to maintain it is in no wise new in any 
of its parts. I have examined with some 
care the arguments hitherto made by 
great men, the echoes of whose eloquence 
yet linger under this dome; and I find 
that the proposition, the argument, the 
authority, the illustration, are but a 
repetition of the famous discussion led 
off by Mr. Calhoun, and growing out 
of the attempt of South Carolina to 
do before what she says she has done 

If the proposition is not new, and if the 
arguments are not strange, it will not be 
wonderful if the replies partake of the 
like character. I deny, as Mr. Webster 
denied; I deny, as Mr. Madison denied; 
I deny, .as General Jackson denied, that 
this Union is a compact between sovereign 
States at all; and so denying, I meet just 
here the authorities which the honorable 
Senator has chosen to quote. They are, 
substantially, as follows: first, not the 
Constitution itself (and that is remark- 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

able); second, not the arguments made 
by the great expounders of the Constitu- 
tion directly upon this question, and on 
this floor; but mainly fugitive expres- 
sions, sometimes hasty, not always con- 
sidered, upon propositions not germane 
to the controversy now engaging us to-day; 
and when made, if misapprehended, cor- 
rected again and again in after years. To 
illustrate : the gentleman from Louisiana 
has quoted at considerable length from 
the debates in the convention which 
formed the Federal Constitution; he has 
quoted the opinions of Mr. Madison, and 
to those who have not looked into the 
question it might appear as if those 
opinions were really in support of his 
proposition that this is a compact between 
sovereign States. Now, sir, to show that 
that is in no sense so, I will read, as a 
reply to the entire quotations of the opin- 
ions of Mr. Madison, what Mr. Madison 
himself said upon that subject upon the 
fullest consideration in the world. I 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

proceed to read what I suppose to be at 
once argument and authority upon that 
question I read the letter of Mr. Madi- 
son to Mr. Webster, dated March 15, 1833. 

[Letter read.] 

Mr. President, I submit to the candor 
of the Senator from Louisiana that this 
is distinct, positive, unequivocal author- 
ity to show that, so far as the opinions 
of Mr. Madison were concerned, he did 
not believe that the Constitution of the 
United States was a compact between 
sovereign States; but that he did believe 
it was a form of government ordained by 
the people of the United States. 

Again: Mr. Webster is quoted. I 
expected, when I heard Mr. Webster 
named, to find that the honorable Sena- 
tor would allude to the great discussion 
which his genius had rendered immortal. 
He does not do that; but refers specifi- 
cally to a passage of Mr. Webster's in 
an argument in the Supreme Court, I 
believe, upon a question arising as to 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

boundary between Massachusetts and 
Rhode Island. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. If the Senator will 
permit, he is mistaken. The question 
that arose there was in relation to the 
power of the people of Ehode Island to 
constitute a new government, not a ques- 
tion of boundary. I allude to his argu- 
ment in the celebrated Dorr controversy. 

Mr. BAKER. I feel obliged to the Sen- 
ator for his correction; and I beg leave 
to say that the mistake perhaps is not 
a very unnatural one in me, living so 
many thousand miles away; for, really, 
Rhode Island, though very patriotic, is 
so very small that I do not quite keep 
up with her history as I ought. It is no 
sort of difference whether Mr. Webster 
made the speech on a boundary ques- 
tion or on a rebellion question; the 
speech was made. My criticism upon 
the quotation is this : It has no relation 
whatever to the controvesy now here, or, 
if it has, it is so remote and indistinct 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

that it becomes him and me alike, to 
refer to what Mr. Webster really did 
say directly upon the controversy itself. 
Now, I take the liberty of reading Mr. 
Webster's views, as expressed and consid- 
ered by himself. I read from Mr. Web- 
ster's works, volume three, page 464: 

" And now, sir, against all these theories and opinions, 
I maintain 

" 1. That the Constitution of the United States is not 
a league, confederacy, or compact between the people of 
the several States in their sovereign capacities; but a 
government proper, founded on the adoption of the peo- 
ple, and creating direct relations between itself and indi- 

" 2. That no State authority has power to dissolve 
these relations ; that nothing can dissolve them but revo- 
lution ; and that consequently there can be no such thing 
as secession without revolution. 

11 3. That there is a supreme law, consisting of the Con- 
stitution of the United States, and acts of Congress passed 
in pursuance of it, and treaties; and that in cases not 
capable of assuming the character of the suit in law or 
equity, Congress must judge of, and finally interpret, this 
supreme law so often as it has occasion to pass acts of 
legislation ; and in cases capable of assuming, and actually 
assuming, the character of a suit, the Supreme Court of 
the United States is the final interpreter." 

Now, I submit again to the candor of 
the honorable and distinguished gentle- 
man, that there is the positive, unmistak- 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

able evidence of Mr. Webster, so far as 
liis own opinion goes; that this is not, 
according to his proposition, a compact 
between sovereign States; but it is a 
government made and ordained by the 
people of the whole United States; a 
government capable of acting directly 
upon individuals, and made by individ- 
uals. And, sir, it is remarkable that 
these propositions of Mr. Webster grew 
out of his desire to contradict the affirma- 
tive propositions of Mr. Calhoun, upon 
which the debate grew up. I read 

l The first two resolutions of the honorable member, 
[says Mr. Webster,] affirm these propositions, namely" 

And they are propositions sought to be 
enforced by the distinguished Senator 
from Louisiana 

" 1. That the political system under which we live, and 
under which Congress is now assembled, is a compact, to 
which the people of the several States, as separate and 
sovereign communities, are the parties. 

" 2. That these sovereign parties have a right to j udge, 
each for itself, of any alleged violation of the Constitu- 
tion by Congress, and in case of such violation, to choose, 
each for itself, its own mode and measure of redress." 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

There, sir, is the right of secession 
upon the one hand, or at least of nullifi- 
cation; and I may say here, once for all, 
the difference between nullification and 
secession is just this: secession bears 
the same relation to nullification that 
biography bears to history, somebody 
having wittily said that history was 
biography with its brains knocked out 
I understand that nullification is just 
secession with its brains knocked out; 
and every argument applying to the 
one applies to the other. So much for 
the second authority upon which the 
distinguished Senator from Louisiana 

I now come to the third; and I trust 
he will allow me to correct for him what 
I know was an oversight, or, at least, an 
entire misapprehension. The honorable 
gentleman from Louisiana, during the 
course of his speech, remarked, as I 
remember it, that a valued friend had 
placed in his hands a paper, from which 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

lie read, purporting to be the opinion of 
John Quincy Adams upon this question 
of the right of a State to secede. I did 
not understand him as reading from a 
manuscript of his own copy, but from a 
paper placed in his hands, and perhaps 
about the moment, by somebody else. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. So far as that is con- 
cerned, the paper that I read from was 
sent to me as I read it, from a valued 
friend from New York. As to the speech 
of Mr. Adams, of course I cannot tell 
anything about it; I have never seen it. 

Mr. BAKER. The reason why I say 
this it is proper to state here. It is a 
remarkable fact that of all the passages 
ever written by John Quincy Adams, of 
all the passages ever written by anybody 
from the beginning of the world, that 
passage, taken altogether, part of which 
was read by the honorable Senator from 
Louisiana, is the passage, of all others, 
which maintains the doctrine of the 
oneness of this Government, its unity, 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

its creation by the people, its ordination 
by them as one government, and an entire 
annihilation of the whole doctrine of 
secession. The difficulty was this: that 
the gentleman who furnished it, and who 
caused the unwitting reading of it, I 
have no doubt, in its mutilated condition, 
by the Senator from Louisiana, omitted 
the most remarkable part of the whole 
passage; and it is more remarkable in 
this it is for that reason I hasten to 
acquit my distinguished friend of any 
knowledge of the misapprehension that 
it is in the very same paragraph; and 
there had to be in that paragraph this 
very same process of separation and dis- 
union which is getting to be fashionable 
nowadays, to make it bear upon the 
Senator's view of the question at all. 
I will read it. It begins in this wise: 

" In the calm hours of self-possession, the right of a 
State to nullify an act of Congress is too absurd for argu- 
ment, and too odious for discussion. The right of a State 
to secede from the Union is equally disowned by the prin- 
ciples of the Declaration of Independence." 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

Now, sir, there follows after that the 
passage read by the distinguished gen- 
tleman. It is a passage, as I understand 
it, incorporated in his speech, which pre- 
sents the opinion of Mr. Adams that 
there may be extreme cases in which a 
State or a community has a right to 
revolutionize. So much for the third 
authority quoted by the distinguished 

Now, speaking of authorities, let me 
add once more, that this speech of Mr. 
Adams, entitled the Jubilee of the Con- 
stitution, delivered by him with all his 
exhaustive power as to any subject to 
which he turned his attention, is, in point 
of fact, an irresistible argument in favor 
of our proposition that the Constitution 
of the United States is an ordained gov- 
ernment by the people for the govern- 
ment of the people, and that it is in no 
sense, and can never be, taken or consid- 
ered as a compact between sovereign 
States. Nay, sir, throughout the whole 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

course of that speech, he goes much fur- 
ther. He argues with great power, and 
with great historical research, to show 
that not only is the Constitution of the 
United States a government formed by 
the people and not a compact between 
States, but that the old Confederation, 
prior to the Constitution, was intended 
to be that form of government also; that 
really the people of the thirteen revolt- 
ing or revolutionary colonies intended, 
even at the time of the Declaration of 
Independence, preceding both the Con- 
stitution and the Confederation, to form 
then a united government of one com- 
mon people. 

And yet once more, sir, I quote from 
General Jackson. It is an authority which 
I trust the distinguished gentleman will 
revere. As I have said, South Carolina 
attempted to do once before what it is 
said she has accomplished now. There 
was then a President of the United 
States determined to do his whole duty. 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

Whether there be now, I leave others to 

"The States severally have not retained their en tire 
sovereignty. It has been shown that in becoming parts 
of a nation, not members of a league, they surrendered 
many of their essential parts of sovereignty. The right 
to make treaties, declare war, levy taxes, exercise exclu- 
sive judicial and legislative powers, were all functions of 
sovereign power. The States, then, for all these important 
purposes, were no longer sovereign. The allegiance of 
their citizens was transferred in the first instance to the 
Government of the United States; they became Ameri- 
can citizens, and owed obedience to the Constitution of 
the United States." 

Another mistake which (speaking with 
great deference) I think is obvious 
throughout the whole speech of the Sen- 
ator from Louisiana, is the assumption, 
not only that the Constitution is a com- 
pact, but that the States parties to it are 
sovereigns. Sir, they are not sovereigns; 
and this Federal Government is not sov- 
ereign. Paraphrasing the Mahometan 
expression, "There is but one God," I 
may say, and I do say, not without rev- 
erence, there is but one sovereign, and 
that sovereign is the people. The State 
government is its creation; the Federal 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Government is its creation; each supreme 
in its sphere ; each sovereign for its pur- 
pose; but each limited in its authority, 
and each dependent upon delegated 
power. Why, sir, can that State either 
Oregon or South Carolina be sovereign 
which relinquishes the insignia of sov- 
ereignty, the exercise of its highest 
powers, the expression of its noblest 
dignities ? Not so. We can neither coin 
money, nor levy impost duties, nor make 
war nor peace, nor raise standing armies, 
nor build fleets, nor issue bills of credit. 
In short, sir, we cannot do because the 
people, as sovereigns, have placed that 
power in other hands many, nay, most, 
of those things which exhibit and pro- 
claim the sovereignty of a State to the 
whole world. Mr. Webster has well 
observed that there can be in this coun- 
try no sovereignty in the European sense 
of sovereignty. It is, I believe, a feudal 
idea. It has no place here. I repeat, 
we are not sovereign here. They are 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

not sovereign in South Carolina; they 
are not, and cannot be in the nature of 
the case; and therefore all assumptions 
and all presumptions arising out of the 
proposition of sovereignty supremacy 
upon the part of a State is a fallacy 
from beginning to end. 

Again, sir : Mr. Calhoun, in the course 
of that celebrated argument, in well- 
chosen words, insisted that the States in 
their sovereign capacity, acceded to a 
compact. Mr. Webster replied with his 
usual force. The word " accede " was 
chosen as the converse of "secede"; the 
argument being intended to be that if 
the State accedes to a compact she may 
secede from that compact. But, said Mr. 
Webster, and no man has answered the 
argument, and no man ever will, it is 
not an accession to a compact at all; it is 
not the formation of a league at all ; it is 
the action of the people of the United 
States carrying into effect their purpose 
from the Declaration of Independence 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

itself, manifested in the ordination and 
establishment of a government, and ex- 
pressed in their own emphatic words in 
the preamble of the Constitution of the 
United States itself. 

In arguing upon the meaning and 
import of the Constitution, I had hoped 
that a lawyer so distinguished as the 
gentleman from Louisiana, would have 
referred to the terms of that document to 
have endeavored at least to find its real 
meaning from its force and mode of 
expression. In the absence of such a 
quotation, I beg leave to remind him 
that the Constitution itself declares by 
whom it was made, and for wha,t it was 
made. Mr. Adams, reading it, declares 
that the Constitution of the United States 
was the work of one people the people 
of the United States and that those 
United States still constitute one people ; 
and to establish that, among other things, 
he refers to the fact the great, the patent, 
the glorious fact that the Constitution 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

declares itself to have been made by the 
people, and not by sovereign States, but 
by the people of the United States; not 
a compact, not a league, but it declares 
that the people of the United States 
do ordain and establish a government. 
Now, I ask the distinguished Senator, 
what becomes of this iteration and reit- 
eration, that the Constitution is a com- 
pact between sovereign States ? 

Pursuing what I think is a defective 
mode of reasoning from beginning to 
end, the distinguished Senator from 
Louisiana quotes Vattel, and for what? 
To prove what, as I understand, nobody 
denies that a sovereign State, being 
sovereign, may make a compact, and after- 
wards withdraw from it. Our answer 
to that is, that South Carolina is not a 
sovereign State; that South Carolina has 
not made a compact, and that, therefore, 
it is not true that she can withdraw from 
it; and I submit that all these disqui- 
sitions upon the nature of European 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

sovereignty, or any of those forms of 
government to which the distinguished 
author which he has quoted had his obser- 
vation attracted, is no argument whatever 
in a controversy as to the force and mean- 
ing of our Constitution bearing upon 
States, sovereign in some sense, not sov- 
ereign in others, but bearing most upon 
individuals in their individual relations. 

But the object of the speech was two- 
fold. It was to prove, first, that this 
Union was a compact between States, and 
that, therefore, there was a rightful 
remedy for injury, intolerable or other- 
wise, by secession. Now, sir, I confess 
in one thing I do not understand this 
speech, although it be clearly written and 
forcibly expressed. Does the Senator 
mean to argue that there is such a thing 
as a Constitutional right of secession? 
Is it a right under the Constitution, or is 
it a right above it and beyond it ? 

Mr. BENJAMIN. I do not know whether 
the Senator desires an answer now. 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

Mr. BAKER. Yes, sir; now. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. Well, sir, I will take 
example from gentlemen on the other 
side, and I will answer his question by 
asking another. 

Mr. BAKER. Do, sir. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. I will ask him if the 
State of South Carolina were refused 
more than one Senator on this floor, 
whether she would have a right to with- 
draw from the Union, and if so, whether 
it would arise out of the Constitution or 

Mr. BAKER. Now, Mr. President, I 
will do what the distinguished Senator 
from Louisiana has not done: I will 
answer the question. [Laughter.] He 
asks me whether if the State of South 
Carolina, sending two Senators here loy- 
ally, with affectionate reverence for the 
Constitution, were denied the admission 
of one, or, if you like, of both, it would be 
cause for withdrawal. I understand that 
to be the question. Sir, I reply: that 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

would depend upon several things yet to 
be stated and determined: First, I think 
South Carolina ought to inquire what is 
the cause of that refusal. I believe this 
body is the judge of the qualification of 
its own members. If the Senator was 
disqualified, or if in any fair judgment 
or reasonable judgment we believed he 
ought not to occupy a seat upon this floor, 
surely it would not be cause of with- 
drawal, or secession, or revolution, or 
war, if we were to send him back. 

But, sir, I will meet the question in 
the full spirit in which I suppose it is 
intended to put it. It is this : the right of 
representation is a sacred right. If that 
right is fraudulently and pertinaciously 
denied, has the State to which it is denied 
a right to secede in consequence thereof ? 
I answer, the right of representation is 
a right, in my judgment, inalienable. It 
belongs to all communities, and to all 
men. It is of the very nature and essence 
of free government ; and if, by force, by 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

despotism of the many over the few, it 
is denied, solemnly, despotically, of pur- 
pose, the intolerable oppression resulting 
from that may be repelled by all the 
means which God and nature have put 
in our hands. Is the honorable Senator 
answered ? 

Mr. BENJAMIN. Not yet 

Mr. BAKER. What, sir ? 

Mr. BENJAMIN. I was saying to the 
Senator, not yet. I asked him whether 
he denied the fact that, in the supposed 
case, which he has very fairly met, the 
right to withdraw resulted from the 
breach of the agreement in the Constitu- 
tion, and would be a right growing out 
of the violation of the Constitution, 
independent of the question of oppres- 
sion at all ? 

Mr. BAKER. Well, sir, I beg leave to 
say, in answer to that, that is not the 
question the honorable Senator put to 
me, but I will answer that. The right 
of South Carolina to withdraw, because 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

the fundamental right of representation 
is denied her, is the right of revolution, 
of rebellion. It does not depend upon 
Constitutional guarantees at all. It is 
beyond them, above them, and not of 
them. Now, is the Senator answered ? 

Mr. BENJAMIN. I am fully answered. 
I am only surprised at the answer. 

Mr. BAKER. Now, will the distin- 
guished Senator answer me ? 

Mr. BENJAMIN. With pleasure. Will 
the Senator state his question once more ? 

Mr. BAKER. Is there such a thing as 
a Constitutional right of South Carolina 
to secede ? 

Mr. BENJAMIN. I thought, Mr. Presi- 
dent, that my proposition on that subject 
could not be mistaken. I hold that there 
is, from the very nature of the Constitu- 
tion itself, from the theory upon which it 
is formed, a right in any State to withdraw 
from the compact, if its provisions are 
violated to her detriment. 

Mr. BAKER. Well now, sir, I under- 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

stand what I did not quite understand 
before, no doubt it was owing to my 
obtuseness, that the gentleman contends 
that there is in the State of South Caro- 
lina a right to secede, to use his own 
words, in the very nature of the Consti- 
tution itself. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. Ke suiting from the 
very nature of the compact, which I con- 
sider the Constitution to be. 

Mr. BAKER. But that, Mr. President, 
is not what the Senator did say. I 
press him on this point again. Does the 
right to secede spring out of and belong 
to the Constitution. And if so, where ? 
I am a strict constructionist. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. I am, too; and if the 
Senator will admit with me, what I 
suppose he will scarcely deny, that the 
States have reserved to themselves under 
the Constitution, by express language, 
every right not expressly denied to them 
by the Constitution, I say that he will 
find in the ninth and tenth amendments 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

to the Constitution the recognition of the 
very right which I claim. 

Mr. BAKER. Well, sir, the answer to 
that is just this: that we have been 
endeavoring to show and I think irre- 
sistibly that, so far from its being true 
that the States do reserve to themselves 
in the Constitution all rights not dele- 
gated by it, they do not reserve any- 
thing, for they are not parties to it; and 
there is no such thing as a reservation 
by the States at all. The instrument is 
made by the people; and the reserva- 
tions, if any, are made by the people, 
not the States. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. If I am not intruding 
upon the Senator's line of argument or 
time and if I am I will not say another 

Mr. BAKER. Not at all. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. I ask the Senator 
whether, after the Constitution had been 
framed, amendments were not proposed 
by nearly all the States and adopted, for 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

the very purpose of meeting that con- 
struction for which he is now contending 
for the very purpose of maintaining 
the proposition against which he now 
argues? His idea is that the Constitu- 
tion of the United States formed a gov- 
ernment over the whole people as a mass. 
The amendments state distinctly that that 
was not the meaning of the Constitution; 
but that, on the contrary, it was a delega- 
tion of power by the States, and that the 
States and the people of the States 
reserved to themselves all powers not 
expressly delegated. 

Mr. BAKER. "The powers not dele- 
gated to the United States by the Con- 
stitution, nor prohibited by it to the 
States, are reserved to the States respect- 
ively, or to the people," that is the 
amendment. Now, in answer, I say that, 
in full light of that amendment, every 
authority which I have read, every argu- 
ment at which I have glanced, from Jack- 
son, from Madison, from Webster, from 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Adams, all unite in the proposition that 
still this is a government made by the 
people of the United States in their char- 
acter of people of the States, being one 
government by them ordained. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. Will the Senator be 
good enough to allow me to call his at- 
tention to the seventh and last article of 
the Constitution, " The ratification of the 
conventions of nine States shall be suffi- 
cient for the establishment of this Con- 
stitution between the States so ratifying 
the same," not read the preamble, but 
the bargain. 

Mr. BAKER. Where shall I find it, sir? 

Mr. BENJAMIN. In the very last article 
of the Constitution. 

Mr. BAKER. I am not sure that I un- 
derstand the force of the distinction which 
the honorable gentleman makes between 
the preamble and the Constitution itself. 
Following the example of Mr. Webster, 
I love to read the whole instrument to- 
gether ; but I will answer the Senator : 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

"The ratification of the conventions of nine States 
shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitu- 
tion between the States so ratifying the same." 

Mr. BENJAMIN. "Between the States." 

Mr. BAKER. Mr. President, what are 
the conventions of nine States but the 
people of nine States? There is the 
answer at once. It is not ratification by 
the State Legislature. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. What is the meaning 
of the phrase "between the States"? Is 
not that the language of compact? 

Mr. BAKER. Well, it is obvious enough. 
Ratification is to be done by the people. 
It is made by the people in the first place. 
It so proposes. It is to be ratified by 
them in the second place; and being so 
made by them, and being so ratified by 
them, is binding upon the States, which 
are the governments of the people that 
ratified it. That is all. But, sir, the 
Senator does not escape in that way. I 
ask him yet once again, is the right to 
secede a right growing out of the Consti- 
tution itself? If so, where? What is 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

that provision? I repeat, I am a strict 
constructionist. He says he is. I am not 
now going to hunt for a vagrant and doubt- 
ful power; but when States propose to 
secede, to dissolve the Union, to declare 
war, to drench confederated States in 
fraternal blood, I ask if they claim it as a 
Constitutional right to take the step that 
will inevitably lead to that? I ask for the 
word, the page, the place, and I meet no 

Mr. BENJAMIN. I again refer the Senator 
to the words and place. If the right of 
secession exists at all, under any circum- 
stances, revolutionary or not, it is a State 
right. Now, the question whether it 
exists under the Constitution or not, can 
only be determined in one way: first, 
by examining what powers are pro- 
hibited to the States; and next, whether 
the powers not prohibited are reserved. 
This power is nowhere prohibited; and 
the tenth amendment declares that the 
powers not prohibited by the Consti- 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

tution to the States are reserved to the 

Mr. BAKER. Mr. President, I do not 
perceive the importance, nay, the profit, 
of pursuing that line of inquiry any fur- 
ther. I have asked for the answer of the 
honorable Senator to that question; and 
if with that answer he is content, and if 
by that answer he intends to abide, so be 
it. I think that we have well disposed 
of the right of secession under the Con- 
stitution itself. I advance to another 

I admit that there is a revolutionary 
right. Whence does it spring? How is 
it limited? To these questions for a mo- 
ment I address myself. Whence does it 
spring? Why, sir, as a right in commu- 
nities, it is of the same nature as the right 
of self-preservation in the individual. A 
community protects itself by revolution 
against intolerable oppression under any 
form of government, as an individual 
protects himself against intolerable 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

oppression by brute force. No compact, 
no treaty, no constitution, no form of gov- 
ernment, no oath or obligation can deprive 
a man or a community of that sacred, ulti- 
mate right. Now, sir, I think I state that 
proposition as fully as I could be desired 
to state it by the gentleman upon the 
other side. The question that arises be- 
tween us at once is: this right of revolu-. 
tion springing out of the self-preservation 
belonging to communities, as to individ- 
uals, must be exercised how? In a case, 
and in a case only, where all other reme- 
dies fail; where the oppression is grind- 
ing, intolerable, and permanent; where 
revolution is in its nature a fit redress; 
and where they who adopt it as a remedy 
can do it in the full light of all the exam- 
ples of the past, of all the responsibilities 
of the present, of all the unimpassioned 
judgment of the future, and the ultimate 
determination of the Supreme Arbiter and 
Judge of all. Sir, a right so exercised is 
a sacred right. I maintain it; and I would 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

exercise it. The question recurs: lias 
South Carolina that right? 

I think the honorable Senator will not 
deny that one of the gravest responsibil- 
ities which can devolve upon a community 
or a State is to break up an established, 
peaceful form of government. If that be 
true as an abstract proposition, how much 
more does the truth strike us when we 
apply it to the condition in which we 
found ourselves two months ago ! South 
Carolina proposes now, according to the 
later doctrine, to secede as a revolutionary 
right; as a resistance against intolerable 
oppression; as an appeal to arms for the 
maintenance of rights, for the redress of 
wrongs, where the one cannot be main- 
tained and the other be redressed other- 
wise. Now, sir, I demand of her and of 
those who defend her, that she should 
stand out in the broad light of history 
and declare, if not by the Senators that 
she ought to have on this floor, by those 
who league with her, in what that oppres- 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

sion consists; where that injury is in- 
flicted ; by whom the blow is struck ; what 
weapon is used in the attack. So much, 
at least, we have a right to inquire. After 
we make that inquiry, permit me to add 
another thing : a State claiming to be sov- 
ereign and a people part of a great gov- 
ernment ought to act with deliberation 
and dignity; she ought to be able to 
appeal to all history for kindred cases of 
intolerable oppression, and kindred occa- 
sions of magnanimous revolution. 

Sir, we are not unacquainted in this 
chamber with the history of revolutions. 
We very well know that our forefathers 
rebelled against the domination of the 
house of Stuart. And why? The causes 
are as well known to the world as the 
great struggle by which they maintained 
the right, and the great renown which has 
forever followed the deed. When Oliver 
Cromwell brought a traitorous, false king, 
and gave him, " a dim discrowned mon- 
arch," to the block, he did it by a solemn 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

judgment in the face of man and in the 
face of Heaven, avouching the deed on 
the great doctrine of revolutionary right; 
and although a fickle people betrayed his 
memory although the traditions of mon- 
archy were as yet too strong for the better 
thought of the English people yet, still, 
now, here, to-day, wherever the English 
language is read, wherever that historic, 
glowing story is repeated, the hearts of 
brave and generous men throb when the 
deed is avouched, and justify the act. 

Again: there was a second revolution 
the revolution of 1688; and why? 
Because a cowardly, fanatic, bigoted mon- 
arch sought, by the exercise of a power to 
be used through the bayonets of standing 
armies, to repress the spirit and destroy 
the liberties of a free people ; because he 
attempted to enforce upon them a re- 
ligion alien to their thought and to their 
hope; because he attempted to trample 
under foot all that was sacred in the con- 
stitution of English government 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

And, sir, in the history of revolutions 
there are examples more illustrious still 
perhaps the greatest of them all, that 
revolution which ended in the establish- 
ment of the Dutch Eepublic. My honor- 
able and distinguished friend, I know, has 
read the glowing pages of Motley, perhaps 
the most accurate, if not the most bril- 
liant, of American historians. I am sure 
that his heart has throbbed with generous 
enthusiasm as he read the thrilling pages of 
that story where a great people, led by the 
heroic house of Orange, pursued, through 
danger, through sacrifice, through blood, 
through the destruction of property, of 
homes, of families, and of all but the great 
indestructible spirit of liberty, the tenor 
of their way to liberty and greatness and 
glory at last. Sir, I need not tell him the 
oppression against which they rebelled; 
that the intolerable tyranny under which 
they groaned was of itself sufficient not 
only to enlist upon their side and in their 
behalf all the sympathies of civilized 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

Europe then, but the sympathies of the 
whole civilized world as they have read 
the story since. 

Yet once more, in the full light of these 
revolutions, our forefathers rebelled 
against a tyrant, declaring the causes of 
the Revolution, proclaiming them to the 
world in an immortal document that is 
familiar to us all. We recognize the 
right. Why? Because the oppression 
was intolerable; because the tyranny 
could not be borne; because the essen- 
tial rights belonging to every human 
being were violated, and that continually; 
and in words more eloquent than I could 
use, or than I have now time to quote, 
Mr. Jefferson proclaimed them to the 
world, and gave the reasons which im- 
pelled us to the separation. Sir, I ask 
the honorable Senator to bring his record 
of reasons for revolution, bloodshed, and 
war here to-day, and compare them with 
that document. 

If, then, Mr. President, the controversy 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

is not upon the abstract right of seces- 
sion, nor upon the revolutionary right of 
secession in a case fit and proper; but if, 
at last, it narrows itself down into a dis- 
cussion of the reasons why South Carolina 
is to revolt,! propose to enter with a little 
minuteness of detail into the history of 
those reasons. I shall find them in 
several sources: first, chiefest, perhaps 
best, in the speech now before me of the 
Senator from Louisiana ; secondly, in the 
very impulsive, very brilliant speech of 
the honorable Senator from Texas [Mr. 
Wigfall]; and, if I have time to pursue 
the search, perhaps in the speech of the 
excited and excitable Senator from Geor- 
gia [Mr. Iverson]. The gentleman from 
Louisiana says that not devoting very 
much time to the catalogue, and not giving 
it with any hope that it will avert the issue 
of arms, he will yet suggest some of the 
wrongs and outrages which that "dreary 
catalogue" presents, as having happened 
to the State of South Carolina. Before 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

he does so, however, he says that the 
wrongs under which she groans, the inju- 
ries which justify and demand revolution, 
are to be found " chiefly in a difference 
of our construction of the Constitution.'* 
Sir, is not that a "lame and impotent 
conclusion" ? I was astonished. I have 
known again to quote the words of Mr. 
Webster I have known, perhaps I may 
know again shortly, that there are cases 
when the war does not always come up 
to the manifesto; but from the serious- 
ness with which the distinguished Sena- 
tor approached the subject, I did not 
expect to find a qualification which would 
destroy the import and force of his cata- 
logue altogether. Why, sir, can it be 
that any man in his sober senses will 
pretend that there can be cause for revo- 
lution, war, because two parties in this 
Government differ as to their construc- 
tion of one article in the Federal Con- 
stitution? Can that be so? And yet, 
in the face of earth and Heaven, I recall 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

the fact that the honorable Senator 
declares that the principal causes of 
grievance are to be found in a difference 
in the construction of one article of the 
Constitution of the United States. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. The Senator will par- 
don me. I do not think he will find 
that in anything I said. 

Mr. BAKER. Far be it from me to 
misrepresent the gentleman. If I do 
not find it, I will withdraw what I have 
said. I quote his words, and they 
were words well considered, beautifully 
chosen : 

" Before, however, making any statement that state- 
ment to which we have been challenged, and which I shall 
make in but very few words of the wrongs under which 
the South is now suffering, and for which she seeks redress, 
as the difficulty seems to arise chiefly from a difference in 
our construction of the Constitution, I desire to read" 

Something else. Now, sir, I ask him 
whether I am not justified in saying that 
his main ground of complaint in his 
catalogue of dreary outrages and intol- 
erable wrongs, is that that catalogue is 
founded, to use his own words, chiefly 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

upon a difference in a construction of 
the Constitution of the United States ? 

Mr. BENJAMIN. The Senator will par- 
don me. He stated that I had said they 
arose from a difference in the construc- 
tion of one clause of the Constitution. 

Mr. BAKER. Well, sir, let it be "two 
rogues in buckram," or seven; the idea 
is the same. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. That is it. We have 
eight or ten grievances; because you all 
construe the Constitution on the errone- 
ous principles you have announced this 

Mr. BAKER. . . . Now, sir, suppose 
we differed about a dozen articles of the 
Constitution, what then ? I read the cata- 
logue of wrongs, and I find, as a lawyer, 
that they must refer themselves princi- 
pally to one. But suppose there are 
more, what then ? There are some things 
that do not appear to strike the honora- 
ble Senator in this connection. For 
instance, does he remember that although 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

he may have one construction of the Con- 
stitution, and I may have another, there 
is between us a supreme arbiter, and 
that upon every conceivable clause about 
which we may differ, or have differed, 
that arbiter has decided always upon 
one side? To begin: there have been 
debates in this Chamber, and elsewhere, 
as to the true construction of that clause 
of the Constitution which requires the 
rendition of fugitive slaves. I will use 
that term. There are very distinguished 
members now upon this floor who have 
argued with great gravity and wisdom 
and research and eloquence, that it was 
intended that the power of rendition 
should be exercised by States. That 
question, with all questions kindred to 
it, about which any of us may have dif- 
fered, has gone before the Supreme Court 
of the United States, and has been decided 
against us, or some of us, and in favor of 
the Constitutionality of the law as it now 
stands; and we have yielded to it, not 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

a submission, but, a better word, obe- 
dience. Is not that true ? 

Again, we have differed in late days 
and I am here to show, directly, how late 
that difference is, and I trust I shall show 
how ill-considered as to the construc- 
tion of the Constitution upon the subject 
of the government of the Territories. 
That is not a political question merely. 
That is capable of being made the sub- 
ject of a suit in law or equity, under 
the provisions of the Constitution. That 
has gone before the Supreme Court of 
the United States. There has been, as 
we all agree, a judgment; there has been, 
as most here contend, a decision ; there has 
been, as everybody admits, an opinion. 
All three have been adverse to us. Is 
there in that any cause of complaint ? 

There are the two points; and as the 
honorable Senator asks me questions, I 
will ask him another. Is there any other 
cause of complaint, except under these 
two clauses of the Constitution, belong- 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

ing to the Constitutional controversy? 
The fugitive slave law is one, the right 
to take your slaves into the Territories 
the other. Are there any others ? 

Mr. BENJAMIN. Undoubtedly, Mr. 
President. I thought I enumerated six 
on Monday. If the Senator will do me 
the honor to read the complaints which 
I made in behalf of the South, he will 
find them. Then, if those are not suffi- 
cient, I can furnish half a dozen more/ 

Mr. BAKEB. Mr. President, I may 
remark that those other causes of griev- 
ance which, upon an occasion so solemn 
as that presented by the Senator the 
other day, were not mentioned in that 
category, were best left unsummed. If 
they were not of sufficient importance to 
be enumerated then, they ought not to be 
brought up by way of makeweight now. 
I hold him to his record. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. Bead. 

Mr. BAKER. I have now, as I under- 
stand it, presented two main causes of 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

grievance arising, as he says, out of 
defective Constitutional construction ; 
and, although I see many specifications, 
I understand they are all parts of two 
charges arising out of defective construc- 
tion upon these two points. For instance, 
one of the six charges is, that we slander 
you. Surely we do not do that under 
the Constitution. We slander you, we 
vilify you, we abuse you, you say. Well, 
that is not a Constitutional difficulty, 
[laughter] ; and if my distinguished 
friend will look at his "dreary cata- 
logue," he will find that, save the two 
which I have mentioned, the remainder 
are but amplification, extension of griev- 
ances, arising outside of the Consti- 
tution, from difference of sentiment, 
opinions, morals, or habits, and not the 
cause of Constitutional complaint. There- 
fore, I am not answered when he says, 
"Look at my catalogue." I repeat once 
more, to make it still plainer, that there 
are but two Constitutional causes of com- 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

plaint : one in regard to the rendition of 
fugitive slaves, the other the government 
of the Territories. The difficulties arise 
out of those two provisions. All the 
rest are matters of sentiment, of opinion, 
of habit, and of morals, which neither 
constitutions nor laws can cause or cure. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. Mr. President, if the 
Senator wants me to answer whether the 
difficulties of which the South complains, 
and in consequence of which she refuses 
any longer to remain confederated with 
her sister States at the North, arise 
exclusively from violations of the rights 
of the South in relation to her slave 
property, I answer, yes. He may take 
one, two, three, five, or six, clauses of the 
Constitution ; they all come back to that 
single point your constant, persistent 
warfare upon our property, instead of 
using the powers of the Federal Govern- 
ment to protect, preserve, and cherish it. 

Mr. BAKER. And thus, Mr. President, 
after questioning and cross-questioning, 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

and exercising that power of cross-exami- 
nation which in courts, and I believe 
elsewhere, we sometimes call the test of 
truth, I bring the Senator, as I under- 
stand him, at last to agree that when he 
says in his labored speech the difficulty 
arises chiefly out of a defective construc- 
tion of the Constitution by us Black 
Republicans, or us people of the North, 
it is to be found upon two subjects : one 
in relation to the fugitive slave question, 
and the other to the government of the 

Mr. BENJAMIN. Not simply as to fugi- 
tive slaves, but all slaves. 

Mr. BAKER. But that is included in 
this question of territorial government, 
of the Wilmot Proviso, of the right of 
the South to take her slaves there, and 
go where she pleases and as she pleases. 
These are the questions 

Mr. BENJAMIN. Why, Mr. President, 
if the Senator will look once again at 
what I said, he will find that it does not 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

comprise only a reference to such slaves 
as escape, but he will find that we refer 
constantly and openly in debate to organ- 
ized and persistent efforts on the part of 
entire bodies of people at the North, 
with the connivance, with the secret aid 
of their fellow-citizens, to rob us of 
our property not simply not returning 
such slaves as may escape, but organ- 
izing means to take away our property 
and hide it beyond our reach, and 
making the fugitive slave law utterly 
valueless, even if it was executed, by 
preventing our discovering even where 
a slave is. 

Mr. BAKER Mr. President, I reply to 
that, that is nothing more than brilliant 
amplification. The point that I press 
the Senator upon is this he has no 
reply to it : have you any other difiiculty 
with us about Constitutional construction 
except upon two subjects ? I do not ask 
you now whether you complain that we 
rob you of your slaves. That is not the 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

point. Do we do it under Constitutional 
construction ? I repeat : take the whole 
tenor of the speech, the complaint, the 
catalogue, the " dreary catalogue "; it all 
ends in this: that there are differences 
of opinion among us of sentiment. You 
complain of our bad morals and our 
bad manners; you say we rob you; you 
say we intend to establish a cordon of free 
States around you ; you say that we are 
persistent in what we do on this point ; 
but at last, in your better and your more 
candid moments, you say that the 
difficulty seems to arise chiefly from 
a difference in our construction of the 
Constitution. I add to that (and you 
will not contradict the addition), that it 
is a difference in our construction of the 
Constitution upon two subjects first, 
the rendition of fugitive slaves; second, 
the government of the Territories so as 
to exclude slavery from those Territories 
by the power either of the General Gov- 
ernment or the Territorial Legislature. 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

I think we arrive clearly at the points 
to be debated between us. 

Now, sir, first, of the fugitive slave 
law. What is the construction that we 
give to the fugitive slave law, of which 
the Senator complains ? I have already 
answered that question. We did in 
argument give a construction. We were 
defeated. The question went before the 
Supreme Court. We were overruled. 
We have obeyed that decision loyally ever 
since. We have never seriously endeav- 
ored to repeal it; nor have we as a party, 
nor as a North, endeavored to defeat its 
execution. Nay, if we had, that is not 
within the Senator's counts, because he 
does not say that the difficulty arises out 
of malexecution of the fugitive slave 
law, but out of the differences of opinion 
between us as to the construction of the 
Constitution. Here I answer again, and 
I will quote Mr. Lincoln, about to be 
inaugurated as President of these United 
States a man who seeks to make his 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

opinions known in all proper ways and 
upon all proper occasions; a man who, 
for simplicity of purpose, directness of 
expression, is not surpassed in this coun- 
try; a man whose honesty has already 
worthily passed into a proverb. You 
will find in the history of the debates, 
unsurpassed in ability in this country, 
between the distinguished Senator from 
Illinois [Mr. Douglas] and the President 
elect, that he was asked, and for obvious 
purposes, what his opinion was upon 
this fugitive slave law question, and he 
replied : 

" Question. I desire to know whether Lincoln to-day 
stands, as he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional 
repeal of the fugitive slave law? 

*' Answer. I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor 
of the unconditional repeal of the fugitive slave law." 
Debates of Lincoln and Douglas, p. 88. 

Is that clear and distinct ? And, sir, I 
echo him, not because he is President, 
but because he is honest and wise and true. 
I, who want nothing of him; I, who am 
not, and in no sense can ever be, depend- 
ent on him; I reply with him; I, as a. 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Senator on this floor, repeating the opin- 
ion of my constituents, without distinction 
of party I, too, say that I am not, have 
not been, never will be, in favor of the un- 
conditional repeal of the fugitive slave law. 
Again, sir: since the passage of that 
law, the Republican party has sprung 
into existence. We have had two politi- 
cal campaigns. In one, untried, unor- 
ganized, without reasonable grounds for 
hope, we astonished ourselves, we aston- 
ished the country, by our strength. In 
the other, gathering together all the 
irresistible elements of freedom in the 
North and West, we have gained a great 
political triumph, which we intend to 
use wisely, but which we intend to guard 
well. Have we, in any platform, in any 
resolutions, by any bill, in any way evinced 
a disposition to repeal that fugitive slave 
law ? Do we not, upon all fit occasions, 
say that, though many of us believe it is a 
hard bargain, yet that it is so " nominated 
in the bond," and we will endure it? 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

Now, sir, when we make these state- 
ments we have made them in the can- 
vass; I make them more deliberately 
now what is the reply ? I know it of 
old. Why, it is said, " While your plat- 
form does not propose to repeal the 
fugitive slave law, there are States which 
pass personal liberty bills." Will gen- 
tlemen listen to our calm, frank, candid 
reply? First, the sense of the whole 
North is opposed to nullification, in any 
way or upon any subject. We will yield 
obedience and I have said that it is 
a better word than submission to any 
provision of the Constitution of the 
United States, as it is construed by the 
ultimate tribunal. They have, as we 
understand it, declared that law to be 
Constitutional, and to that decision we 
yield. If there be States which have 
passed laws in violation of it, preventive 
of it, to hinder, to defeat, to delay it, 
in my judgment and, sir, what is of 
infinitely more consequence, in the 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

judgment of the North and West those 
laws ought to be repealed ; not because 
South Carolina threatens; not because 
Louisiana will secede: but because we 
desire to yield obedience to those highest 
obligations, right and duty, of which I 
made mention in the commencement of 
this argument. 

But, sir, the honorable and distin- 
guished gentleman upon the other side 
knows very well that there is very seri- 
ous and grave debate whether those laws 
are in any sense unconstitutional. We 
are told that some of them were made 
before the fugitive slave law, bearing 
upon other questions and directed to 
other objects. We are told that the pro- 
visions of many of them are provisions 
intended to guard and secure personal 
liberty, independent of any question as 
to the fugitive slave law. But whether 
that be so to any extent, or to what 
extent, we say that if it shall be proved 
before any competent tribunal, and most 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

of all, before the Supreme Court of the 
United States, that those laws, or any of 
them, in any of their provisions, do hin- 
der, delay, defeat the execution of that 
law, " reform it altogether." Sir, speak- 
ing in my place, with some knowledge 
of the Eepublican party, speaking by 
no authority in the world for the Presi- 
dent elect, but speaking of him because 
I have known him from my boyhood, or 
nearly so, I say that, when the time 
arrives that he shall be inaugurated in 
this capital, and exercise in the chair of 
the Chief Magistrate all the high respon- 
sible duties of that office, he will enforce 
the execution of all the laws of this 
Government, whether revenue, or fugitive 
slave, or territorial, or otherwise, with 
the whole integrity of his character and 
the whole power of the Government. 
Now, I ask my distinguished friend if that 
is not a fair, frank reply to all the objec- 
tions he may make as to differences of 
construction about the fugitive slave law ? 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. If the Senator wants 
the answer now 

Mr. BAKER. Certainly, sir; let the 
blow fall now. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. It is not at all satis- 
factory; not in the remotest degree. 

Mr. BAKER. My honorable friend will 
not say that that is a reply. If I were 
in court, or elsewhere, and not in so 
grave a body as the Senate of the United 
States, I would quote two very celebrated 
lines in reply to that, to the effect that those 
who suffer from the law do not always 
have a good opinion of it; but I refrain. 
I repeat that, in the judgment of reason- 
able men, that is an answer, and a full 
and complete answer to the objection 
made against us, that you are going to 
secede because of any difference of 
opinion between us as to the construc- 
tion of the provisions of the Constitution 
and our duty about the fugitive slave law. 

There are some other observations 
with which I beg leave to detain the 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

Senate, however, upon that subject. 
That can scarcely be considered one of 
the objections; first, because the State 
of South Carolina herself, through her 
only authorized expositor, the Charleston 
Mercury, declares, and has declared, that 
she believes the fugitive slave law to be 
unconstitutional anyhow. One of the 
most distinguished of her sons, Mr. 
Rhett, repeats and emphasizes the same 
remark. A distinguished gentleman, the 
Senator from Georgia, lately occupying 
the chair, not now in it, [Mr. Iverson,] 
has said lately upon this floor that the 
South does not complain of any construc- 
tion which the North gives to that law ; 
nay, more, that the law is well made, 
carefully guarded, just to the South, 
and, so far as the Federal Government is 
concerned, properly executed. 

Now, sir, can that be the ground of 
complaint about which South Carolina 
is going out? Will she separate the 
bonds that have bound us together for 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

more than seventy years, because she 
does not think that we quite perfectly 
obey a law which she herself, in the 
person of her most distinguished ser- 
vants, declares to be unconstitutional? 
Not so, sir. Or will Georgia follow the 
illustrious example of South Carolina, 
and desert the Republic, when her rep- 
resentative on this floor declares that 
upon that subject the North performs 
all its obligations ? These are questions 
which I leave to their honor and their 
dignity to decide. 

The Senator from Louisiana tells me 
that the Southern people have agreed 
that slavery may be prohibited. How? 
Sir, in passing the Missouri Compromise 
bill, they did not merely agree to do it 
the act of Congress is not a mere evi- 
dence to be used in a court of honor that 
the people of Louisiana will not inter- 
fere with the bargain. That is not it; 
but the act of Congress is a positive law, 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

made under the sanction of an oath, in 
the light of the consciences of the men 
who agreed to it ; and I ask him in all 
fairness and honor, if he or I to-day vote 
in this Senate chamber to prohibit slav- 
ery in a certain Territory, whether, if we 
believe that we have no right under the 
Constitution to do that, we do not violate 
both the Constitution and our oaths when 
we render that vote ? I think that from 
this position there is no escape. When 
Mr. Clay gave that vote, he had no Con- 
stitutional doubt. When the South urged 
it, and the North agreed to it, they who 
voted had no Constitutional doubt ; or if 
they had, it vanished before the clear light 
of reason and argument. The North, as 
it is said, accepted it reluctantly ; at least 
they abided by it. When gentlemen de- 
stroyed it they ran after strange gods; 
and now when many of them propose to 
come back to it, they are offering a truer 
and more acceptable worship. But, sir, 
the point of the argument is not to be 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

evaded by any pretense that it is a mere 
agreement in a court of honor to do that 
which they have no legal and Constitu- 
tional right to do. Suppose a gentleman 
from Alabama comes up and says, " Sir, 
you, the Senator from Louisiana, have 
voted to prohibit me from taking my 
slaves into the territory north of 36 30'; 
what do you mean by it ? have you any 
right to do it? "Oh, no," the Senator 
says, "no right in the world; it is just a 
sort of legislative flourish, a compact 
between us and somebody else, that hav- 
ing done it, we will never take it back; 
it is the exercise of a right which theo- 
retically we do not claim; we have just 
done it we do not exactly know why in 
point of law, but we have done it because 
we hope, having done it, nobody will undo 
it." What will the strict constructionists 
on the other side say to that? What 
words will they put in my mouth ? 

I do not think the argument can be 
defended other than upon the ground 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

assumed by a justice of the peace, well 
known to my distinguished friend from 
Illinois [Mr. Douglas], old Boiling Green, 
in answer to a little law advice that I 
gave him on one occasion when the Sen- 
ator and I were both very young men, 
and (if he will excuse me for saying so) 
very poor lawyers. [Laughter.] Old 
Boiling Green, then a magistrate, came 
to me and said, "Baker, I want to know 
if I have jurisdiction in a case of slan- 
der." I put on a very important air; 
looked at him steadily looked as wise 
as I could, and I said to him, "Squire, 
you have no such authority; that is re- 
served to a court of general jurisdiction." 
"Well," said he, "think again; you have 
not read law very well, or very long; try 
it again; now, have I not jurisdiction? 
can I not do it?" "No," I said; "you 
cannot." Said he, "Try once more; 
now, cannot I take jurisdiction?" "No, 
sir," said I; "you cannot; I know it; I 
have read the law from Blackstone to 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

; well, I have read Blackstone, and 

I know you cannot do it." " Now, sir," 
said he, "I know I can; for, by Heaven, 
I have done it." [Laughter.] I under- 
stand, now, that the sum total of the 
answer which is made to my objection as 
to the Constitutionality of the Missouri 
Compromise touching the consciences of 
the gentlemen who proposed to pass it 
without power, is just the reply of my 
old friend Boiling Green. They say, 
"Theoretically we have not the power; 
constitutionally we have not the power ; 
but, by Heaven, we have done it." 

Well, sir, I do not assume to deal with 
them in a court of conscience. That is 
their matter. I do not pretend to discuss 
the propriety of making a solemn act of 
the Congress of the United States merely 
evidence in a court of honor, subject, as 
I think, to a demurrer to evidence at 
least. That is none of my business. 
What I am dealing with is this : if that 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

be the opinion of Virginia, of Louisiana, 
of the entire South; if they have done it 
by their leaders, by their speeches; if 
they have lived by it; if, being a compact, 
it is an executed compact; if under it 
State after State has come into this 
Union, is it not too late for them to deny 
now that we are justified if we wish to 
adhere to that principle? Have they 
a right to come and say, "You are 
declaring slavery to be a creature of the 
local law, and we will justly dissolve 
the Union by revolution in consequence 
thereof ? " I think, from the conclusion, 
that this is neither fair, nor just, nor 
right, nor Constitutional. There is no 

The Senator says, in substance, that we 
attack slavery generally. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. If the Senator will per- 
mit me, the charge is not that Congress 
does it, but that the States do it. 

Mr. BAKER. Very well. I thank the 
gentleman; and with the directness which 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

belongs to his character, and the cour- 
tesy which he can never forget, I shall 
be happy if, only to carry down the 
argument, whenever he sees a proper 
place, he will just direct my attention to 
the pith and marrow of the matter as he 
does now. Now, be it understood, on 
this given day of January, in the year 
of our Lord 1861, the great champion 
of the South upon this question gets up 
in his place in the Senate and admits 
that there is no ground of complaint 
that the Federal Government ever has 
attempted to interfere with the existence 
of slavery in the Southern States. We 
will get that down upon the record, and 
I apprehend it will be quoted before this 
controversy is over, again and again. 

But it is said that the Northern States, 
the Western States in other words, the 
free States do so interfere. Again we 
deny it The fact is not so. The proof 
cannot be made. Why, sir, I might ask, 
in the first place, how can the States so 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

interfere? Suppose Illinois, of which 
I desire to speak always with affectionate 
solicitude, and of which I can speak with 
considerable knowledge, were to violate 
all the opinions which she has mani- 
fested in her history, and desired to 
interfere with the existence of slavery 
in Virginia, how would she go about it ? 
I have the profoundest respect for my 
friend as a lawyer; but I would like to 
know what bill he could frame by which 
Illinois could interfere with the existence 
of slavery in Virginia. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. Mr. President, I will 
tell the Senator, not how they can do 
it by bill, but how they do it in acts. 
A body of men penetrated into the State 
of Virginia by force of arms, into a 
peaceful village at the dead hour of night, 
armed with means for the purpose of 
causing the slaves to rise against their 
masters, seized upon the public property 
of the United States, and murdered the 
inhabitants. A man was found in Massa- 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

chusetts who, in public speeches, declared 
that he approved of that, and that the 
invasion was right; and the people of 
Massachusetts, by an enormous majority 
the fact of that man's action placed 
before the people as a ground why he 
should be elected their Governor 
elected him their Governor, indorsed 
invasion of a sister State, indorsed the 
murder of peaceful inhabitants of the 
State of Virginia. The people of Massa- 
chusetts, by the election of Andrews as 
their Governor, have indorsed the act of 
John Brown, have indorsed the invasion 
of a sister State, and the murder of its 
peaceful citizens at dead of night. 

The people of Massachusetts, in their 
collective capacity, have done more. 
They have sent Senators upon this floor 
whose only business has been, for year 
after year, to insult the people of the 
South; here, in this common assembly 
of confederate embassadors, to cast slan- 
der and opprobrium upon them ; to call 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

them thieves, murderers, violators ; charge 
them as being criminals of the blackest 
dye; and because the men who here rep- 
resent Massachusetts did that, Massa- 
chusetts has sent them back to repeat 
the wrong. They have done that, end 
nothing else, since ever I have been in 
the Senate. 

Mr. WILSON. Mr. President 
Mr. BAKER. Oh, never mind. Mr. 
President, I asked the gentleman from 
Louisiana to point out to me and to the 
Senate how, if the State of Illinois were 
desirous to interfere with the existence 
of slavery in Virginia, it could be done. 
I leave to his cooler temper and his 
better taste to examine how he has 
answered me. Why, sir, he runs off into 
a disquisition upon John Brown, which 
would not dignify a stump. Now, I sub- 
mit that that is not the point between us. 
I hold that his answer is an acknowledg- 
ment that a free State cannot, as a State, 
interfere in any conceivable way with 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

slavery in a slave State ; and that being 
so, we advance another step. We agree 
now that Congress never have interfered, 
and that States never can. 

But the gentleman says (and I do not 
reply to it now on account of what he 
has said at this moment, but because it 
is another of the counts in the indict- 
ment), that individuals in the Northern 
States have interfered with slavery in 
the Southern States. I believe that to 
be true; but being true, I ask, what 
then ? Is that the chief ground of disso- 
lution? Are you going to revolt for 
that ? Will you plunge us into civil war 
for that ? Is that all ? Sir, let us exam- 
ine it a little more closely. I pass, as 
unworthy of the dignity of the debate, 
the incidental attack which the Senator 
from Louisiana has chosen to make upon 
the people of Massachusetts, upon the 
Governor of that great State, and upon 
the distinguished Senators from that 
State, who, in my judgment, are an honor 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

on this floor to this body. It is not my 
purpose they would not intrust me 
with their defense ; nor is it needful that 
I should make it here or anywhere. 
That is not within the scope and pur- 
pose of this debate; but it is within 
the scope and purpose of this debate to 
examine how much of truth there is in 
the general sweeping charge which the 
Senator has chosen to make, and how 
much justification in the fact, if the fact 
be true. 

Sir, the people of the Northern and 
Western States are a free people. We 
have there various rights guaranteed to 
us by our State constitutions, among the 
chiefest of which are liberty of thought 
and freedom of speech. We are an 
inquiring people; we are an investigat- 
ing people; and we are, no doubt, very 
subject to the charge often made against 
us that we are a people of isms. Where 
there is perfect freedom of opinion, 
that must be the case, in the nature of 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

things. It is in the nature of the human 
mind itself. Laws will not restrain it. 
We cannot bind the human mind with 
fetters, nor can we limit it to modes of 
expression. It will think and it will act, 
spite of all government, and beyond all 
law. It follows, as a consequence, that 
the people will not think alike; and, of 
course, as there cannot be two ways per- 
fectly right upon any one subject, the 
people will not always think truly and 

What then ? There are people in Mas- 
sachusetts, and in Illinois, and in Oregon, 
who will not only violate the rights of 
the slave States but the rights of the 
free. There are people in the North 
who will not only steal niggers, but steal 
horses. There are people in the North 
who will not only try to burn down houses 
in the slave States, but who will be in- 
cendiary in the free States. It is the 
duty of the distinguished Senator from 
Louisiana, and myself sometimes, as 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

counsel, to defend such men. Nor do I 
know that such men or such defenses are 
confined to the North or the West alone. 
I apprehend if a grateful procession of 
the knaves and rascals who are indebted 
to the distinguished Senator from Lou- 
isiana for an escape from the penitentiary 
and the halter were to surround him 
to-day, it would be difficult for even 
admiring friends to get near him to con- 
gratulate him upon the success of his 
efforts upon this floor. [Laughter.] 
When, therefore, he says that individuals 
not States, not Congress but indi- 
viduals in the free States, do attack in 
their individual capacity the honor and 
dignity of the slave States, and do run 
off their niggers, and do steal their 
property, and do kidnap, and do various 
other things contrary to their duty as 
good citizens, I am inclined, while I 
regret it, to believe the whole of it. 

Springing from that, and evidenced, as 
I think, by the excited enumeration 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

which the distinguished Senator has 
chosen to make of the wrongs and crimes 
of the State of Massachusetts and her 
Senators, springing from that exagger- 
ated mode of thought and expression, 
as to the free States, arises the spirit of 
the count in the indictment against the 
whole of us. Now, I beg leave to say to 
the honorable Senator, that the desire to 
interfere with the rights of slavery in 
the slave States is not the desire of the 
Northern people. It is not the desire of 
the people of Oregon, I know; it is not 
the desire of the people of California, I 
am sure ; it is not the desire of the people 
of Illinois, I would swear ; and I may 
say more, that in all my association with 
the Republican party, I have yet to find 
among them, from their chiefs down to 
their humblest private, one man who 
proposes to interfere with the existence 
of slavery in the slave States by force, 
by legislation, or by Congressional action. 
I have known no such man in all my 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

short experience, nor do I believe that 
the Senator from Louisiana can point 
out any such man. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. If the Senator merely 
desires me to answer him, I will tell 
him exactly what I said the other day: 
that the belief of the South is, and I 
admit I share it, that, without intending 
to violate the letter of the Constitution 
by going into States for the purpose of 
forcibly emancipating slaves, it is the 
desire of the whole Republican party 
to close up the Southern States with a 
cordon of free States, for the avowed 
purpose of forcing the South to emanci- 
pate them. 

Mr. BAKER. Very well, sir. See how 
gloriously we advance, step by step. 
We abandon now the charge that Con- 
gress does it; we abandon now the charge 
that States do it; we abandon now the 
charge that the individual members of 
the Northern and Western communities, 
as a body, desire to interfere with slavery 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

contrary to law, to violate any existing 
right in the slave States; but we insist 
tenaciously and pertinaciously on our 
fourth count in the indictment; and it is 

Mr. BENJAMIN. The Senator, I trust, 
does not desire to misrepresent what I 

Mr. BAKER. I do not, sir. 

Mr. BENJAMIN. I am confident that he 
does not. I understood the Senator to 
ask me, in relation to the Republican 
party, what proof I had of their desire 
to destroy slavery in the States. I gave 
it to him. I did not say that, independ- 
ently of that, there were not other attacks 
upon Southern slavery. I just this mo- 
ment referred him to the direct attack of 
the State of Massachusetts the State as 
a State. Independently of that, by the 
further exemplification of the State of 
Massachusetts, I will refer him to the 
fact that her Legislature indorsed the 
vituperations of her Senator on this floor, 

The Reply to Benjamin. 

by an enormous majority, and made that 
a State act; and furthermore, that she 
passed a law in violation of the rights 
of Southern slaveholders, and all her 
eminent legal men are now urging the 
State to repeal the law as a gross out- 
rage upon the Constitutional rights of 
the South. 

Mr. BAKER. Why, Mr. President, in a 
State where all her eminent legal men 
are desirous to rectify a wrong, I do not 
think, if the Senator will wait a little 
while, there can be any very great danger. 
Our profession is a very powerful one; 
and I have never known a State in which 
we all agree upon a legal proposition 
that we could not induce her to agree to 
it too. That is a mere answer in pass- 

I insist, however I know it is not 
quite pleasant to my friend, and I regret 
that it is not so that I have brought 
him down to a clear statement by way of 
abandonment of three or four of the 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

specifications. It is now true that the 
great ground of complaint has narrowed 
itself down to this: that, as a people, we 
desire to circle the slave States with a 
cordon of free States, and thereby destroy 
the institution of slavery; to treat it like 
the scorpion girt by fire. I take that to 
be an abandonment of the main counts in 
the indictment, unless that be considered 
one of them. Now, I approach that ques- 
tion: first, if we, a free people, really, in 
our hearts and consciences, believing 
that freedom is better for everybody than 
slavery, do desire the advance of free 
sentiments, and do endeavor to assist 
that advance in a Constitutional, legal 
way, is that, I ask him, ground of sepa- 
ration ? 

Mr. BENJAMIN. I say, yes; decidedly. 

Mr. BAKER. That is well. And I say 
just as decidedly, and perhaps more 
emphatically, no ! And I will proceed 
to tell him why. The argument is a 
little more discursive to-day than yester- 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

day, but perhaps not less instructive. 
Suppose that circling slavery with a cor- 
don of free States were a cause of sepa- 
ration, and therefore war, with us: is it 
not just as much so with anybody else ? 
It is no greater crime for a Massachu- 
setts man or an Oregon man to circle, to 
girdle, and thereby kill, slavery, than for 
a Frenchman, or an Englishman, or a 
Mexican. It is as much a cause of war 
against France, or England, or Mexico, 
as against us. 

Again, sir: how are you going to help 
it ? How can we help it ? Circle slavery 
with a cordon of free States ! Why, if I 
read history and observe geography 
rightly, it is so girdled now. Which 
way can slavery extend itself that it does 
not encroach upon the soil of freedom ? 
Has the Senator thought of that? It 
cannot go North, though it is trying very 
hard. It cannot go into Kansas, though 
it made a convulsive effort, mistaking a 
spasm for strength. It cannot go South, 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

because, amid the degradation and civil 
war and peonage of Mexico, if there be 
one thing under heaven they hate worse 
than another, it is African slavery. It 
cannot reach the islands of the sea, for 
they are under the shadow of France, 
that guards their shores against such 
infectious approach. It is circled I 
will not say girdled. I recollect the 
figure, familiar to us all, by which he 
intimates that that which is girdled will 
die. Therefore, I do not say girdled; 
I say circled, inclosed, surrounded; I 
may say hedged in; nay, more, I may 
say where is the Senator from New 
York [Mr. Seward] ? he is a prophet, 
and I will not predict; but, if I were not 
warned by his example and his predic- 
tion as to the " irrepressible conflict," I 
might say that, being so hedged, circled, 
guarded, encompassed, it will some day 
it may be infinitely far distant, so far as 
mortal eye can see but it will be some 
day lost and absorbed in the superior 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

blaze of freedom. And, sir, that would 
be the case, just as much as it is now, if 
there were no Northern free States. 
What harm do I, in Illinois or Oregon, 
to the Senator from Louisiana? Where 
can his slavery go, that it is not now, 
unless it be in this disputed Territory of 
New Mexico? Where else? If it go 
anywhere else, it will go incursive, aggres- 
sive upon freedom. It will go by invad- 
ing the rights of a nation that is inferior 
and that desires to be friendly. It will 
go in defiance of the wish and will and 
hope and tear and prayer of the whole 
civilized world. It will go in defiance 
of the hopes of civilized humanity all 
over the world. The Senator will not 
deny that. Therefore it is that it appears 
to me idle and I had almost said wicked 
to attempt to plunge this country into 
civil war, upon the pretense that we are 
endeavoring to circle your institution, 
when, if we had no such wish or desire 
in the world, it is circled by destiny, 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

by Providence, and by human opinion 

The Senator asks, " How will you col- 
lect your revenue ? " There is nothing 
practical in the attempted idea that we 
cannot punish an individual, or that we 
cannot compel him to obey the law, because 
a sovereign State will undertake to succor 
him. There is no more sense in that than 
there was in the excuse made by a cele- 
brated commander -in -chief for profane 
swearing. The Duke of York, as you may 
rejnember, sir, was, during the reign of 
George III., his father, not only comman- 
der-in-chief of the British forces, but he 
was titular Bishop of Osnaburgh ; that is, 
he had a little principality in Germany 
which was originally related to the Church, 
and he was nominal bishop of that princi- 
pality. At a tavern one day, while the com- 
mander-in-chief was swearing profanely, a 
gentleman of the Church of England felt 
it his duty to reprove him, and said to 
him, " Sir, I am astonished that a bishop 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

should swear in the manner that you do." 
" Sir," said he, " I want you to distinctly 
understand that I do not swear as the 
Bishop of Osnaburgh I swear as the 
Duke of York, the commander-in-chief." 
"Ah, sir," said the old man, "when the 
Lord shall send the duke to hell, what 
will become of the bishop ? " [Laughter.] 
Now, if, in consequence of an attempt to 
violate the revenue laws, some persons 
should be hurt, I do not know that it 
will better their condition at all that 
South Carolina will stand as a stake to 
their back. I think that is the plain 
common-sense answer to all that has been 
said on that subject. 

Sir, as I leave that branch of it, indeed 
as I leave the subject altogether, I will 
simply say that I hope it will never 
come. Whatever moderation, whatever 
that great healer, Time, whatever the 
mediation of those allied to these people 
in blood, in sympathy, in interest, may 
effect, let that be done; but at last let 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

the laws be maintained and the Union be 
preserved. At whatever cost, by what- 
ever Constitutional process, through what- 
ever of darkness or danger there may be, 
let us proceed in the broad luminous path 
of duty " till danger's troubled night be 
passed and the star of peace returns." 

As I take my leave of a subject upon 
which I have detained you too long, I 
think in my own mind whether I shall 
add anything in my feeble way to the 
hopes, the prayers, the aspirations that 
are going forth daily for the perpetuity 
of the Union of these States. I ask 
myself, shall I add anything to that 
volume of invocation which is everywhere 
rising up to high Heaven, " Spare us from 
the madness of disunion and civil war !" 
Sir, standing in this chamber and speak- 
ing upon this subject, I cannot forget that 
I am standing in a place once occupied 
by one far, far mightier than I, the lachet 
of whose shoes I am not worthy to 
unloose. It was upon this subject of 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

secession, of disunion, of discord, of civil 
war, that Webster uttered those immortal 
sentiments, clothed in immortal words, 
married to the noblest expressions that 
ever fell from human lips, which alone 
would have made him memorable and 
remembered forever. Sir, I cannot im- 
prove upon those expressions. They 
were uttered nearly thirty years ago, in 
the face of what was imagined to be a 
great danger, then happily dissipated. 
They were uttered in the fullness of his 
genius, from the fullness of his heart. 
They have found echo since then in mil- 
lions of homes and in foreign lands. 
They have been a text-book in schools. 
They have been an inspiration to public 
hope and to public liberty. As I close, 
I repeat them ; I adopt them. If in their 
presence I were to attempt to give utter- 
ance to any words of my own, I should 
feel that I ought to say, 

" And shall the lyre so long divine 
Degenerate into hands like mine T" 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Sir, I adopt the closing passages of 
that immortal speech; they are my senti- 
ments; they are the sentiments of every 
man upon this side of the chamber; I 
would fain believe they are the sentiments 
of every man upon this floor; I would 
fain believe that they are an inspiration, 
and will become a power throughout the 
length and breadth of this broad con- 
federacy; that again the aspirations and 
hopes and prayers for the Union may 
rise like a perpetual hymn of hope and 
praise. But, sir, however this may be, 
these thoughts are mine; these prayers 
are mine; and as, reverently and fondly, 
I utter them, I leave the discussion: 

"When my eyes shall be turned to 
behold for the last time the sun in 
heaven, may I not see him shining on the 
broken and dishonored fragments of a 
once glorious Union; on States dissev- 
ered, discordant, belligerent; on a land 
rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may 
be, in fraternal blood! Let their last 


The Reply to Benjamin. 

feeble and lingering glance rather behold 
the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now 
known and honored throughout the earth, 
still full high advanced, its arms and 
trophies streaming in their original luster, 
not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a 
single star obscured, bearing for its motto 
no such miserable interrogatory as * What 
is all this worth?' nor those other words 
of delusion and folly, * Liberty first, and 
Union afterwards ;' but everywhere, spread 
all over in characters of living light, blaz- 
ing on all its ample folds, as they float 
over the sea and over the land, and in 
every wind under the whole heavens, 
that other sentiment, dear to every true 
American heart, 'Liberty and Union, now 
and forever, one and inseparable ! ' " 

The Freedom of the Press. 

The following memorable passage occurs in that part 
of the Reply to Benjamin which has been omitted: 

Sir, the liberty of the press is the highest safeguard of 
all free government. Ours could not exist without it. It 
is with us, nay, with all men, like a great exulting and 
abounding river. It is fed by the dews of heaven, which 
distill their sweetest drops to form it. It gushes from 
the rill, as it breaks from the deep caverns of the earth 
It is fed by a thousand affluents, that dash from the 
mountain top to separate again into a thousand bounte- 
ous and irrigating rills around. On its broad bosom it 
bears a thousand barks. There Genius spreads its pur- 
pling sail. The re Poetry dips its silver oar. There Art, 
Invention, Discovery, Science, Morality, Religion, may 
safely and securely float. It wanders through every land. 
It is a genial, cordial source of thought and inspiration, 
wherever it touches, whatever it surrounds. Sir, upon 
its borders, there grows every flower of grace and every 
fruit of truth. I am uot here to deny that that river 
sometimes oversteps its bounds. I am not here to deny 
that that stream sometimes becomes a dangerous torrent, 
and destroys towns and cities upon its banks; but I am 
here to say that, without it, civilization, humanity, gov- 
ernment, all that makes society itself, would disappear, 
and the world would return to its ancient barbarism. 
Sir, if that were to be possible, or so thought for a mo- 
ment, the fine conception of the great poet would be 
realized. If that were to be possible, though but for a 
moment, civilization itself would roll the wheels of its 
car backward for two thousand years. Sir, if that were 
so, it would be true that, 

" As one by one in dread Medea's train, 
Star after star fades off th' ethereal plain, 
Thus at her felt approach and secret might, 
Art after art goes out, and all is night. 
Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before, 
Sinks to her second cause, and is no more. 
Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires, 
And unawares morality expires." 


THE last speech was, indeed, spoken "in the presence 
of great events." South Carolina and other Southern 
States had already seceded. Two months after this speech 
the Administration of Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated. 
Benjamin had left the Senate with the secession of Louisi- 
ana. That body, held in session to act on Presidential 
appointments, adjourned on March 28th. Within a fort- 
night, Fort Sumter was bombarded and taken by the Con- 
federates. Virginia seceded a few days later. Upon the 
fall of Sumter the President called for seventy-five thou- 
sand men to defend the Capital. His proclamation recited 
that the laws were opposed and their execution obstructed 
by " combinations " in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, 
Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and called for 
recruits " to suppress said combination, and to cause the 
laws to be duly executed"; and at the same time sum- 
moned Congress to meet in extra session of the 4th of 
July. A second call for troops was made on May 4th. The 
war spirit being thoroughly aroused, Union mass-meet- 
ings were held throughout the Northern and Western 
States, the most notable, in point of numbers and enthu- 
siasm, being in Union Square, New York City, on Saturday, 
April 19, 1861. From different stands twenty of the most 
prominent men of the country addressed the multitude, 
among them being Daniel S. Dickinson, James T. Brady, 
John A. Dix, Henry J. Raymond, and the Oregon Senator. 
This was the largest mass-meeting ever held in this coun- 
try. It was generally estimated that one hundred thou- 
sand people were in the throng. Dickinson, who had 
been United States Senator from New York, and was a fine 
speaker, addressing another meeting on a later occasion 
in Brooklyn, after the death of Baker, thus alluded to 
our orator : " He was swifter than an eagle ; he was stronger 
than a lion, and the very soul of manly daring. He spoke 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

by my side at the great Union Square meeting in April, 
and his words of fiery and patriotic eloquence yet ring 
upon my ear. And has that noble heart ceased to throb 
that pulse to play? Has that beaming eye closed in death? 
Has that tongue so eloquent been silenced forever?" 

Baker's speech follows. His happy reference to his 
leadership of New York troops on the battle-field in 
Mexico made sure of the affectionate sympathy of the 
vast host before him. 

Governor Stanly, on the occasion spoken of on page 65, 
repeated the stirring words with which this speech con- 
cluded, and declared Baker's effort to be " one of great 
eloquence and power." 

It was there in the great metropolis, before the 
unreckoned multitude, in the face of an unexampled 
crisis, and in the fullness of his fame our friend made 
his last popular appeal. 


THE majesty of the people is here 
to-day to sustain the majesty of the Con- 
stitution [cheers], and I come a wanderer 
from the far Pacific to record my oath 
along with yours of the great Empire 
State. [Applause, and three cheers for 
Baker.] The hour for conciliation is 
passed; the gathering for battle is at 
hand, and the country requires that every 
man shall do his duty. [Loud cheers.] 
Fellow-citizens, what is that country? 
Is it the soil on which we tread? Is 
it the gathering of familiar faces? Is 
it our luxury, and pomp, and pride? 
Nay, more than these, is it power, and 
might, and majesty alone? No; our 
country is more, far more, than all these. 
The country which demands our love, 
our courage, our devotion, our heart's 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

blood, is more than all these. [Loud 
applause.] Our country is the history 
of our fathers, the tradition of our 
mothers. Our country is past renown; 
present pride and power; future hope 
and dignity; greatness, glory, truth, Con- 
stitutional guarantees above all, free- 
dom forever. [Enthusiastic cheers.] 
These are the watchwords under which 
we fight, and we will shout them out till 
the stars appear in the sky in the stormi- 
est hour of battle. [Cheers.] I have 
said that the hour of conciliation is past. 
It may return, but not to-morrow or next 
week. It will return when that tattered 
flag [pointing to the flag of Fort Sumter] 
is avenged. [Prolonged and enthusiastic 
cheers.] It will return when rebellious 
Confederates are taught that the North, 
though peaceable, is not cowardly; 
though forbearing, not fearful. [Cheers.] 
That hour of conciliation will come back 
when again the ensign of the Republic 
will stream over every rebellious fort 


The New York Mass- Meeting. 


of every Confederate State [renewed 
cheers], to be, as of old, the emblem of 
the pride, and power, and dignity, and 
majesty, and peace of the nation. 
[Applause.] Young men of New York ! 
you are told that this is not to be a war 
of aggression. In one sense, that is true ; 
in another, not. We have committed 
aggression upon no man. In all the 
broad land, in their rebel nest, in their 
traitor's camp, no truthful man can rise 
and say that he has ever been disturbed, 
though it be but for a single moment, in 
life, liberty, estate, character, or honor. 
[Cheers, and cries of " That 's so ! "] The 
day they began this unnatural, false, 
wicked, rebellious warfare, their lives 
were more secure, their property more 
secure by us (not by themselves, but by 
us), more strongly guarded than the lives 
and property of any other people from 
the beginning of the world. [Applause.] 
We have committed no oppression, 
broken no compact, exercised no unholy 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 


power, but have been loyal, moderate, 
Constitutional, and just. We are a major- 
ity, and will govern our own Union, 
within our own Constitution, in our own 
way. [Cries of " Bravo ! " and applause.] 
We are all Democrats. We are all 
Republicans. We acknowledge the sov- 
ereignty within the rule of the Constitu- 
tion; and under that Constitution, and 
beneath that flag, let traitors beware! 
[Loud cheers.] 

In this sense, then, young men of New 
York, we are not for a war of aggression ; 
but in another sense, speaking for myself 
as a man who has been a soldier, and as 
a man who is a Senator, I say I am for 
a war of aggression. I propose that we 
do now as we did in Mexico conquer 
peace. [Loud and enthusiastic applause.] 
I propose that we go to Washington, and 
beyond. [Loud cheers.] I do not de- 
sign to remain silent, supine, inactive 
nay, fearful until they gather their 
battalions and advance upon our borders 


The New York Mass-Meeting. 

or into our midst. I would meet them 
upon the threshold, and there, in the 
very hold of their power, in the very 
atmosphere of their treason, I would dic- 
tate the terms of peace. [Loud cheers.] 
It may take thirty millions of dollars, 
it may take three hundred millions 
what then? We have it. [Cries of 
" Good !" and applause.] Loyally, nobly, 
grandly do the merchants of New York 
respond to the appeals of the Govern- 
ment. It may cost us seven thousand 
men ; it may cost us seventy-five thou- 
sand; it may cost us seven hundred and 
fifty thousand what then? We have 
them. [Renewed cheering.] The blood 
of every loyal man is dear to me. My 
sons, my kinsmen, the men who have 
grown up beneath my eye and beneath 
my care, they are all dear to me ; but if 
the country's destiny, glory, tradition, 
greatness, freedom, Constitutional gov- 
ernment demand it, let them all go. 
[Enthusiastic cheers.] 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

I am not now to speak timorous words 
of peace, but to kindle the spirit of 
determined war; I speak in the Empire 
State, amid scenes of past suffering and 
past glory. The defenses of the Hudson 
above me, the battle-field of Long Island 
before me, and the statue of Washington 
in my very face [loud, enthusiastic cheers], 
the battered and unconquered flag of 
Sumter is waving at my side, which I 
can imagine to be trembling again with 
the excitement of battle. [Great enthusi- 
asm.] And as I speak, I say my mission 
here to-day is to kindle the heart of New 
York for war short, sudden, bold, deter- 
mined, forward war. [Great applause.] 

The Seventh Regiment has gone. 
[Three cheers for the Seventh Regiment.] 
Let seventy and seven more follow. 
[Applause.] Of old, said a great his- 
torian, beneath the banner of the Cross, 
Europe precipitated itself upon Asia. 
Beneath the banner of the Constitution 
let the men of the Union precipitate 


The New York Mass- Meeting. 

themselves upon the Confederate States. 
[Tremendous applause.] A few more 
words, and I have done. [Cries of " Go 
on; we '11 hear you all night."] 

Let no man underrate the dangers of 
this conflict. Civil war, for the best of 
reasons upon the one side, and the worst 
upon the other, is always dangerous to 
liberty, always fearful, always bloody. 
But, fellow-citizens, there are yet worse 
things than fear, than doubt and dread, 
and peril and bloodshed. Dishonor is 
worse. [Prolonged cheers.] Anarchy 
is worse. States forever commingling 
and forever severing is worse. '[Renewed 
cheers.] Secessionists are worse. To 
have star after star blotted out [cries 
of "Never! never!"] to have stripe after 
stripe obscured [cries of "No! no!"] 
to have glory after glory dimmed, to 
have our women weep and our men blush 
for shame through generations to come; 
that and these are infinitely worse than 
blood. [Tremendous cheers.] 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

People of New York! on the eve of 
battle, allow me to speak as a soldier. 
Few of you know, as my career has been 
distant and obscure, but I may mention 
it here to-day with a generous pride, 
that it was once my fortune to lead your 
gallant New York regiment in the very 
shock of battle. [Applause.] It was 
upon the bloody heights of Cerro Gordo. 
I know well what New York can do 
when her blood is up. [Loud applause. 
"Three cheers for Baker!"] Again, once 
more, when we march, let us not march 
for revenge as yet we have nothing to 
revenge. It is not much, that where that 
tattered flag recently floated, guarded by 
seventy men against ten thousand, it is 
not much that starvation effected what 
an enemy could not compel. [Prolonged 

We have yet some punishment to in- 
flict. The President himself, a hero 
without knowing it, and I speak from 
knowledge, having known him from boy- 


The New York Mass- Meeting. 

hood, the President says: "There are 
wrongs to be redressed, already long 
enough endured ;" and we march to battle 
and to victory because we do not choose 
to endure this wrong any longer. [Cheers.] 
They are wrongs not merely against us, 
not against the President, not against me, 
but against our sons and against our 
grandsons that surround us. They are 
wrongs against our ensign [cries of 
"That's so!" and applause]; they are 
wrongs against our Union; they are 
wrongs against our Constitution; they 
are wrongs against human hope and 
human freedom. 

While I speak, following in the wake 
of men so eloquent, the object of your 
meeting is accomplished. Upon the wings 
of the lightning it goes out to the world 
that the very heart of a great city that 
New York, by one hundred thousand of 
her people, declares that she will sustain 
the Government to the last dollar in her 
treasury to the last drop of her blood. 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

The national banners leaning from ten 
thousand windows to-day proclaim your 
reverence and affection for the Union. 
You will gather in battalions, and, as you 
gather, every omen of ultimate peace will 
surround you. The ministers of religion, 
the priests of literature, the historians 
of the past, the illustrators of the present, 
capital, science, art, invention, discoveries, 
the works of genius, all these will attend 
us, and we will conquer. 

And if, from the far Pacific, a voice 
feebler than the feeblest murmur upon 
its shore may be heard to give you 
courage and hope in the contest, that 
voice is yours to-day. And if a man 
whose hair is gray, who is well-nigh 
worn out in the battle and toil of life, 
may pledge himself on such an occasion, 
and in such an audience, let me say as 
my last word that when, amid sheeted 
fire and flame, I saw and led the hosts 
of New York as they charged in contest 
on a foreign soil for the honor of the 


The New York Mass- Meeting. 

flag; so again, if Providence shall will 
it, this feeble hand shall draw a sword, 
never yet dishonored, not to fight for 
honor on a foreign field, but for country, 
for home, for law, for government, for 
Constitution, for right, for freedom, for 
humanity and in the hope that the 
banner of my country may advance, and 
wheresoever that banner waves, there 
glory may pursue and freedom be estab- 
lished. [Loud and prolonged applause.] 


WHEN he spoke the warlike words last in place. Baker 
had about made up hia mind again to "draw a sword 
never yet dishonored," and on June 28th, one week 
before Congress was to meet in special session, he was 
mustered into service as colonel of the First California 
Infantry (designation changed in November, 1861, to Sev* 
enty-first Pennsylvania Infantry Volunteers,) to serve 
three years. He was commissioned brigadier-general of 
volunteers, August 6, 1861, to rank from May 17th. This 
commission, although he was confirmed by the Senate, he 
declined on August 31st. On September 21st, j ust a month 
before his fall, he was appointed major-general of volun- 
teers. This he also declined, because acceptance would 
necessitate his resignation as Senator. It is not on his- 
tory's page, but nevertheless true, that when General 
Winfield Scott had to give up the general command of the 
army, in consequence of old age, President Lincoln ten- 
dered the succession to Colonel Baker. Lincoln and Baker 
were old comrades in the campaigns of the Whig party. 
They were together in the Black Hawk War, and Baker's 
action in the war with Mexico was fresh in the mind and 
heart of the President. 

While Congress was in special session, the Federal 
disaster at Bull Run occurred, on Sunday, July 21, 1861. 
Baker was stationed at Fortress Monroe, but was ordered 
with his command to Washington. 

On August 2, 1861, the Senate having under considera- 
tion a bill to suppress insurrection and sedition, intro- 
duced on July 16th by the Hon. Lyman Trumbull, of 
Illinois, Senator Breckinridge, of Kentucky, late Vice- 
President of the United States, made a speech against the 
proposed measure. Baker, in the double role of statesman 
and soldier, heard this speech, sitting in his seat as Sena- 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

tor and clothed in the uniform of a colonel of the army, 
and at its conclusion he arose to reply. Seldom, if ever 
before, in the history of Congress did a speaker so chal- 
lenge attention. Only once had there been a like scene, 
and then, too, it was the same actor. In the war with 
Mexico, when General Shields was badly wounded at 
Cerro Gordo, Baker succeeded to the command of the 
brigade, and led it through all the subsequent battles of 
the war. At one time he availed himself of a furlough, 
visited Washington, resum'ed his seat in the House as a 
member from Illinois, made a brilliant speech in favor of 
the prosecution of the war, then hastened back to his 
regiment at Vera Cruz. 

He was now to make his last pronunciation. He was 
going into actual battle again to redeem his pledges. One 
of these he had made at the reeent New York mass-meet- 
ing, and another pledge he had given to Glory in his 
youth that he would love her forever I In hi8 life, indeed, 
were some sharp contrasts, as before observed this son 
of Mars, this hero of three wars, was reared by Quaker 
parents ! Baker had long borne the name of " The Old 
Gray Eagle." It was a happy appellative. Behold his 
white locks, his magnificent eyes, his lofty flights ! As he 
took the floor now, in his uniform, to reply to Breckin- 
ridge, perhaps a nobler or more picturesque figure never 
stood in the presence of men. His altitude was five feet 
ten and a half inches, his weight one hundred and ninety 
pounds. Harmonious in person, and free in gesture, he 
spoke, as usual, with animation, yet with undisturbed 
dignity. The picture in this volume represents him as 
he then appeared. It is from a photo by W. L. Germon, of 
Philadelphia, taken between the dates of this last speech 
and Baker's death. It gives the eagle look and the flash 
of the eye. 

Reader, you say, He was a fine-looking man. Yes, he 
was a good man to look at, as well as listen to, and he was 
universally beloved, being as good-hearted as he was good- 
looking. You see his nature in his face. 

The apparition of the Tarpeian Rock, brought into 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

this speech at the suggestion of Senator Fessenden, of 
Maine, was regarded as felicitous even by the orator's 
political opponents. But Breckinridge at first believed 
that it was Sumner, of Massachusetts, who whispered the 
word to Baker, and that the act was more malicious than 



MB. PBESIDENT, it has not been my 
fortune to participate in, at any length, 
indeed, nor to hear very much of the 
discussion which has been going on 
more, I think, in the hands of the Sen- 
ator from Kentucky than anybody else 
upon all the propositions connected with 
this war; and, as I really feel as sincerely 
as he can an earnest desire to preserve 
the Constitution of the United States for 
everybody, South as well as North, I 
have listened for some little time past to 
what he has said, with an earnest desire 
to apprehend the point of his objection 
to this particular bill. And now waiv- 

*In this debate Senator Breckinridge referred to 
Baker as " the Senator from California." Baker, correct- 
ing, said "Oregon." Breckinridge responded: "The 
Senator seems to have charge of the whole Pacific Coast, 
though I do not mean to intimate that the Senators from 
California are not entirely able and willing to take care 
of their own State. They are. The Senator from Oregon, 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

ing what, I think, is the elegant but loose 
declamation in which he chooses to in- 
dulge I would propose, with my habit- 
ual respect for him, (for nobody is more 
courteous and more gentlemanly,) to ask 
him if he will be kind enough to tell me 
what single particular provision there is 
in this bill which is in violation of the 
Constitution of the United States, which 
I have sworn to support one distinct, 
single proposition in the bill. 

Mr. BRECKiNRioaE. I will state, in 
general terms, that every one of them is, 
in my opinion, flagrantly so, unless it 
may be the last. I will send the Senator 
the bill, and he may comment on the 

Mr. BAKER. Pick out that one which, 
in your judgment, is most clearly so. 

Mr. BBECKINBIDGE. They are all, in 
my opinion, so equally atrocious, that I 
dislike to discriminate. I will send the 
Senator the bill, and I te!4 him that 
every section, except the last, in my 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

opinion, violates the Constitution of the 
United States; and of that last section I 
express no opinion. 

Mr. BAKER. I had hoped that that 
respectful suggestion to the Senator 
would enable him to point me to one 
section, in his judgment, most clearly so, 
for they are not all alike they are not 
equally atrocious. 

Mr. BRECKINRIDGE. Very nearly so. 
There are ten of them. The Senator can 
select which he pleases. 

Mr. BAKER. Let me try, then, if I 
must generalize as the Senator does, to 
see if I can get the scope and meaning 
of this bill. It is a bill providing that 
the President of the United States may 
declare, by proclamation, in a certain 
given state of facts, certain territory, 
within the United States, to be in a con- 
dition of insurrection and war, which 
proclamation shall be extensively pub- 
lished within the district to which it 
relates. That is the first proposition. 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

I ask him if that is unconstitutional. 
That is a plain question. Is it uncon- 
stitutional to give power to the President, 
to declare a portion of the territory of 
the United States to be in a state of in- 
surrection or rebellion? He will not 
dare to say it is. 

Mr. BBECKINBIDGE. Mr. President, the 
Senator from Oregon is a very adroit 
debater; and he discovers, of course, the 
great advantage he would have if I were 
to allow him, occupying the floor, to ask 
me a series of questions, and then make 
his own criticisms on my responses. 
When he has closed his speech, if I deem 
it necessary, I may make some reply. 
At present, however, I will answer that 
question. The State of Illinois, I believe, 
is a military district. The State of Ken- 
tucky is a military district. In my judg- 
ment, the President has no authority, 
and Congress has no right to confer it 
upon him, to declare a State to be in a 
condition of insurrection or rebellion. 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

Mr. BAKER. In the first place, the 
bill does not say a word about States. 
That is the first answer. 

Mr. BRECKINRIDGE. Does not the Sen- 
ator know, in fact, that those States com- 
pose military districts ? It might as 
well have said " States " as to describe 
what is a State. 

Mr. BAKER. I do; and that is the 
reason why I suggest to the honorable 
Senator that this criticism about States 
does not mean anything at all. That is 
the very point. The objection certainly 
ought not to be that he can declare a 
part of a State in insurrection, and not 
the whole of it. In point of fact, the 
Constitution of the United States, and 
the Congress of the United States acting 
upon it, are not treating of States but of 
the territory comprising the United 
States; and I submit once more to his 
better judgment that it cannot be uncon- 
stitutional to allow the President to de- 
clare a county or a part of a county, or 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

a town or a part of a town, or part of a 
State, or the whole of a State, or two 
States, or five States, in a condition of 
insurrection, if, in his judgment, that be 
the fact. That is not wrong. 

In the next place, it provides that that 
being so, the military commander in that 
district may make and publish such police 
rules and regulations as he may deem 
necessary to suppress the rebellion and 
restore order and preserve the lives and 
property of citizens. I submit to him 
that if the President has power we 
ought to have power to suppress insur- 
rection and rebellion is there any better 
way to do it, or is there any other way? 
The gentleman says, Do it by the civil 
power. Look at the fact. The civil power 
is utterly overwhelmed; the courts are 
closed ; the judges banished. Is the Pres- 
ident not to execute the law ? Is he to do 
it in person, or by his military command- 
ers ? Are they to do it with regulation, 
or without it ? That is the only question. 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

The honorable Senator says there is a 
state of war. The Senator from Ver- 
mont agrees with him; or rather, he 
agrees with the Senator from Vermont 
in that. What then? There is a state 
of public war; none the less war because 
it is urged from the other side; not the 
less war because it is unjust; not the less 
war because it is a war of insurrection 
and rebellion. It is still war; and I am 
willing to say it is public war public, 
as contradistinguished from private war. 
What then ? Shall we carry that war on ? 
Is it his duty as a Senator to carry it 
on ? If so, how ? If it is a public war, 
how? By armies, under command; by 
military organization and authority, ad- 
vancing to suppress insurrection and 
rebellion. Is that wrong ? Is that un- 
constitutional ? Are we not bound to 
do with whoever levies war against us 
as with a foreigner ? There is no dis- 
tinction as to the mode of carrying on 
war. We carry on war against an advan- 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

cing army just the same, whether it be 
from Russia or from South Carolina. 
Will the honorable Senator tell me if it 
is our duty to stay here, within fifteen 
miles of the enemy preparing to march 
upon us, and talk about nice questions 
of Constitutional construction, as to 
whether it is war or merely insurrec- 
tion ? No, sir. It is our duty to advance, 
too, if we can; to suppress insurrection; 
to put down rebellion ; to dissipate the 
rising; to scatter the enemy; and when 
we have done so, to preserve, in the terms 
of the bill, the liberty, lives, and prop- 
erty of the people of the country, by just 
and fair police regulations. Did not we 
do this when we took Monterey, in Mex- 
ico ? Did we not do it when we took the 
Mexican capital? Is it not a part a 
necessary, an indispensable part of war 
itself, that there shall be military regula- 
tions over the country that is conquered 
and held ? Is that unconstitutional ? 
I think it was a mere play of words 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

that the Senator indulged in, when he 
attempted to answer the Senator from 
New York. I did not understand the 
Senator from New York to mean any- 
thing substantially but this: that the 
Constitution deals generally with a state 
of peace, and that, when war is declared, 
it leaves the condition of public affairs to 
be determined by the law of war in the 
country where the war exists. It is true 
that the Constitution does not adopt the 
laws of war as a part of the instrument 
itself during the continuance of war. The 
Constitution does not provide that spies 
shall be hung. Is it unconstitutional to 
hang a spy ? There is no provision for 
it in terms in the Constitution; but 
nobody denies the right, the power, 
the justice. Why? Because it is a part 
of the law of war. The Constitution does 
not provide for the exchange of prison- 
ers; yet it may be done under the law 
of war. Indeed, the Constitution does 
not provide that a prisoner may be taken 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

at all, yet his captivity is perfectly just 
and Constitutional. It seems to me that 
the Senator does not, will not, take that 
view of the subject. 

Again, sir, when a military commander 
advances (as I trust, if there are no more 
unexpected great reverses, he will ad- 
vance) through Virginia, and occupies the 
country, there, perhaps, as here, the civil 
law may be silent; there, perhaps, the 
civil officers may flee, as ours have been 
compelled to flee. What then ? If the 
civil law is silent, who shall control and 
regulate the conquered district who but 
the military commander? As the Sen- 
ator from Illinois has well said, shall it 
be done by regulation or without regula- 
tion ? Shall the general, or the colonel, 
or the captain, be supreme, or shall he 
be regulated and ordered by the Presi- 
dent of the United States ? That is the 
sole question. The Senator has put it 

I agree that we ought to do all we can 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

to limit, to fetter, to restrain, the use of 
military power. Bayonets are, at best, 
illogical arguments. I am not willing, 
except as a case of sheerest necessity, 
ever to permit a military commander to 
exercise authority over life, liberty, and 
property. But, sir, it is part of the law 
of war; you cannot carry in the rear of 
your army your courts; you cannot or- 
ganize juries; you cannot have trials 
according to the forms and ceremonial 
of the common law amid the clangor of 
arms ; and somebody must enforce police 
regulations in a conquered or occupied 
district. I ask the Senator from Ken- 
tucky again, respectfully, is that Constitu- 
tional ? Or if in the nature of war it must 
exist, even if there be no law passed by 
us to allow it, is it unconstitutional to 
regulate it? That is the question to 
which I do not think he will make a 
clear and distinct reply. 

Now, sir, I have shown him two sections 
of the bill (which I do not think he 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

will repeat earnestly) are unconstitutional. 
I do not think that he will seriously deny 
that it is perfectly Constitutional to limit, 
to regulate, to control to confer and 
restrain at the same time authority in 
the hands of military commanders. I 
think it is wise and judicious to regulate 
it by virtue of powers to be placed in 
the hands of the President by law. 

Now, a few words, and a few only, as 
to the Senator's predictions. The Sen- 
ator stands up here in a manly way in 
opposition to what he sees is the over- 
whelming sentiment of the Senate, and 
utters reproof, malediction, and predic- 
tion combined. Well, sir, it is not every 
prediction that is prophecy. It is the 
easiest thing in the world to do, except 
to be mistaken, when we have predicted. 
I confess, Mr. President, that I would 
not have predicted three weeks ago the 
disasters which have overtaken our arms; 
and I do not think, if I were to predict 
now, that six months hence the Senator 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

will indulge in the same tone of predic- 
tion which is his favorite key now. I 
would ask him: What would you have 
us do now a Confederate army^ within 
twenty miles of us, advancing, or threat- 
ening to advance, to overwhelm your 
Government, to shake the pillars of the 
Union; to bring it around your head, if 
you stay here, in ruins ? Are we to stop, 
and talk about an uprising sentiment in 
the North against the war? Are we to 
predict evil, and retire from what we 
predict? Is it not the manly part to go 
on as we have begun, to raise money, and 
levy armies, to organize them, to prepare 
to advance; where we do advance, to 
regulate that advance by all the laws and 
rules that civilization and humanity will 

Can we do anythiDg more ? It is idle 
to talk to us about stopping; we will 
never stop. Will the Senator yield to 
rebellion? Will he shrink from armed 
insurrection? Will his State justify it? 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Will its better public opinion allow it? 
Shall we send a flag of truce? What 
would he have? Or would he conduct 
this war so feebly that the world would 
smile in derision? These speeches of 
his, sown broadcast over the land, what 
clear, distinct meaning have they? Are 
they not intended for disorganization in 
our very midst? Are they not designed 
to dull our weapons, to destroy our zeal, 
to animate our foes? Sir, are they not 
words of brilliant, polished treason, even 
in the very capitol of the Republic? 
[Applause in the galleries, promptly 
checked by the presiding officer.] 

What would have been thought, if, in 
another capitol, in another republic, in 
a yet more martial age, a Senator as 
grave, not more eloquent or dignified, 
than the Senator from Kentucky, yet 
with the Eoman purple flowing over his 
shoulders, had risen in his place, sur- 
rounded by all the illustrations of Koman 
glory, and declared that advancing Han- 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

nibal was just, and that Carthage ought 
to be dealt with in terms of peace ? What 
would have been thought, if, after the 
battle of Cannae, a Senator there had 
risen in his place and denounced every 
levy of the Roman people, every expen- 
diture of its treasure, and every appeal 
to the old recollections and the old 

[Senator William Pitt Fessenden, of 
Maine, here whispered to the speaker: 
"He would have been hurled from the 
Tarpeian Rock." 

Sir, a Senator, himself learned far 
more than myself in such lore, tells me, 
in a voice that I am glad is audible, that 
he would have been hurled from the 
Tarpeian Rock. It is a grand commen- 
tary upon the American Constitution that 
we permit the words of the Senator from 
Kentucky to be uttered here. I ask the 
Senator to recollect, too, what, save to 
send aid and comfort to the enemy, do 
these predictions of his amount to? 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Every word thus uttered falls as a note 
of inspiration upon every Confederate 
ear. Every sound thus uttered is a word 
(and, falling from his lips, a mighty 
word,) of kindling and triumph to a foe 
that determines to advance upon us. 
For me, I have no such word to utter as 
a Senator. For me, amid temporary 
defeat, disaster, disgrace, it seems that 
my duty calls me to utter another word, 
and that word is bold, sudden, forward, 
determined war, according to the laws of 
war, by armies, by military commanders, 
clothed with full power, advancing with 
all the past glories of the Republic 
urging them on to conquest. 

I do not stop to consider whether it 
is subjugation or not. It is compulsory 
obedience, not to my will, not to yours, 
sir; not to the will of any one man, 
not to the will of any one State; but 
compulsory obedience to the Constitu- 
tion of the whole country. The Senator 
chose the other day again and again to 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

animadvert on a single expression in a 
little speech which I delivered before 
the Senate, in which I took occasion to 
say that if the people of the rebellious 
States would not govern themselves as 
States, they ought to be governed as 
Territories. The Senator knew full well 
then for I explained twice, he knows 
full well now that on this side of the 
chamber, nay, in this whole North and 
West, in all the loyal States, in all their 
breadth, there is not a man among us all 
who dreams of causing any man in the 
South to submit to any rule, either as to 
life, liberty, or property, that we our- 
selves do not willingly agree to yield to. 
Did he ever think of that ? Subjugation 
for what? When we subjugate South 
Carolina, what shall we do ? We shall 
compel her obedience to the Constitution 
of the United States ; that is all. Why 
play upon words ? We do not mean, we 
have never said, any more. If it be slavery 
that men should obey the Constitution 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

that their fathers fought for, let it be so. 
If it be freedom, it is freedom equally 
for them and for us. We propose to 
subjugate rebellion into loyalty; we pro- 
pose to subjugate insurrection into peace ; 
we propose to subjugate Confederate 
anarchy into Constitutional Union liberty. 
The Senator well knows that we propose 
no more. I ask him, I appeal to his 
better judgment now, what does he 
imagine we intend to do, if, fortunately, 
we conquer Tennessee or South Carolina, 
call it " conquer," if you will. They 
will have their courts still; they will 
have their ballot-boxes still; they will 
have their elections still ; they will have 
taxation and representation still; they 
will have the writ of habeas corpus still; 
they will have every privilege they ever 
had. When the Confederate armies are 
scattered; when their leaders are ban- 
ished from power; when the people 
return to a late repentant sense of the 
wrong they have done to a Government 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

they never felt but in benignancy and 
blessing, then the Constitution made for 
all will be felt by all, like the descend- 
ing rains of heaven which bless all alike. 
Is that subjugation? To restore what 
was, as it was, for the benefit of the 
whole country and of the whole human 
race, is all we desire, and all we can 

Gentlemen talk about the Northeast. 
I appeal to Senators from the Northeast. 
Is there a man in all your States who 
advances upon the South with any other 
idea than to restore the Constitution of 
the United States in its spirit and its 
unity? I never heard that one. I be- 
lieve no man indulges in any dream of 
inflicting there any wrong to public lib- 
erty; and I respectfully tell the Senator 
from Kentucky that he persistently, ear- 
nestly I will not say willfully misrep- 
resents the sentiment of the North and 
West when he attempts to teach these doc- 
trines to the Confederates of the South. 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

While I am predicting, I will tell you 
another thing. This threat about money 
and men amounts to nothing. Some of the 
States which have been named in that 
connection I know well. I am sure that 
no temporary defeat, no momentary dis- 
aster, will swerve Illinois from her alle- 
giance to the Union. It is not with us a 
question of money or of blood ; it is a 
question involving considerations higher 
than these. When the Senator from Ken- 
tucky speaks of the Pacific, I see another 
distinguished friend from Illinois [Sen- 
ator James A. HcDougall], now worthily 
representing the State of California, who 
will bear me witness that I know that 
State, too, well. I take the liberty I 
know that I but utter his sentiments to 
say that that State will be true to the 
Union to the last of her blood and 
treasure. There may be some disaffected 
men there, some few who would "rather 
rule in hell than serve in heaven." There 
are such men everywhere. There are a 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

few men there, who have left the South 
for the good of the South; who are per- 
verse, violent, destructive, revolutionary, 
and opposed to social order. A few, but 
a very few, thus formed, and thus nur- 
tured, in California and in Oregon, both 
persistently endeavor to create and main- 
tain mischief; but the great portion of 
our population are loyal to the core, and 
in every chord of their hearts. They are 
offering to add to the legions of the 
country, every day, by the hundred and 
the thousand. They are willing to come 
thousands of miles, with their arms on 
their shoulders, at their own expense, to 
share, with the best offering of their 
hearts' blood, in the great struggle of 
Constitutional liberty. I tell the Senator 
that his predictions, sometimes for the 
South, sometimes for the Middle States, 
sometimes for the Northeast, and then 
wandering away in airy visions out to the 
far Pacific, are false in sentiment, false in 
fact, and false in loyalty. The Senator 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

from Kentucky is mistaken in them all. 
Five hundred million dollars ! What 
then? Great Britain gave more than 
two thousand millions in the great battle 
for Constitutional liberty which she led 
at one time almost single-handed against 
the world. 

Five hundred thousand men? What 
then? They are the children of the 
country, and we will give them all up 
before we will abate one word of our just 
demand, or retreat one inch from the 
dividing line between right and wrong. 

When we give them, we know their 
value. Knowing their value, we give 
them with the more pride and the more 
joy. Sir, how can we retreat? Sir, how 
can we make peace? Who shall treat? 
What commissioners? Who would go? 
Upon what terms ? Where is to be your 
boundary line? Where the end of the 
principles we shall have to give up? 
What will become of Constitutional Gov- 
ernment? What will become of public 


The Reply to Breckinridge. 

liberty? What of past glories? What 
of future hopes? Shall we sink into the 
insignificance of the grave, a degraded, 
defeated, emasculated people, frightened 
by the results of one battle, and scared 
at the visions raised by the imagination 
of the Senator from Kentucky on this 
floor? No, sir; a thousand times no, 
sir! We will rally, if, indeed, our 
words be necessary, we will rally the 
people, the loyal people, of the whole 
country. They will pour forth their 
treasure, their men, without stint, with- 
out measure. The most peaceable man 
in this body may stamp his foot upon 
this Senate chamber floor as of old a 
warrior and Senator did, and from that 
single tramp there will spring forth 
armed legions. Shall one battle de- 
termine the fate of empire ? Or a 
dozen? The loss of a thousand men? Or 
twenty thousand? Or one hundred mil- 
lion dollars? Or five hundred million 
dollars ? In a year's peace, in ten years, 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

at most, of peaceful progress, we can 
restore them all. There will be some 
graves reeking with blood, watered by 
the tears of affection ; there will be some 
loss of luxury, some privation, somewhat 
more need for labor to procure the neces- 
saries of life. When that is said, all is 
said. If we have the country, the whole 
country, the Union, the Constitution, free 
government with these there will return 
all the blessings of well-ordered civiliza- 
tion; the path of the country will be a 
career of greatness and glory, such as, in 
the olden time, our fathers saw in the 
dim visions of years yet to come, and 
such as would have been ours now, to- 
day, but for the treason for which the 
Senator too often seeks to apologize. 




THE reply to Breckinridge was Baker's 
last speech. He went back at once to 
the field of war, and in the uniform of a 
colonel, but commanding a brigade, he 
fell at the battle of Edward's Ferry, or 
Ball's Bluff, on the Virginia side of the 
Potomac, on the 21st of October, 1861.* 

Any person, having known Baker well, 
upon being told simply that he had been 
killed in battle, could catch in fancy the 
echoes of the conflict the beat of drums, 
the blare of bugles, the clash of sabers, 
all the roar of onset and the shock of 
recoil. It was his proud claim that he 
" could lead men anywhere " ; and with 
his ardent nature, and the fields of glory 
behind him, it seems he should have 

* That love of country which has inspired the strongest 
minds sways us most powerfully when it combines with 
the tastes of the mind, the affections of the heart, and 
the habitudes of the imagination. Madame de Stael. 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

died, if perish lie must, in actual charge, 
or hand-to-hand struggle, yielding his 
breath on severe terms; that it should 
not have been a sudden extinguishment, 
but that he should have continued to fight, 
even after receiving mortal hurt; un- 
horsed, but defiant still, beating down 
his assailants, until nature could do no 
more. The catastrophe recalls into view 
over a wide stretch of time another 
strong and martial figure (although 

The war that for a space did fail, 

Now, trebly thundering, swelled the gale, 

And "Stanley! " was the cry ; 
A light on Marmion's visage spread, 

And fired his glazing eye. 
With dying hand above his head, 
He shook the fragment of his blade, 

And shouted, " Victory ! 
Charge, Chester, charge ! on, Stanley, on ! " 
Were the last words of Marmion. 

A like stirring scene might have marked 
Baker's end at a much earlier period of 


The Death of Baker. 

human warfare, when, with weapons now 
antiquated, individual nobility was more 
in view, and, by consequence, more in 
peril. Or, struck down too soon, our 
warrior might easily be pictured as in 
the thick of the very metee his own fall 
at once brought about. 

A superior force had accumulated in 
his front; the Potomac, which he had 
just crossed, ran close in the rear. There 
is a long and thrilling narrative by Geo. 
Wilkes, in which he dwells on Baker's 
fine bearing when he found that he was 
taken in the toils. He caught sight of a 
white-haired officer riding near the 
enemy's front, and called for a pistol, 
exclaiming "There is Gen. Johnston; 
fire, boys, fire ! " As he reached forward 
to receive the weapon, a very tall, red- 
haired man emerged suddenly from the 
smoke, and, walking quickly up to within 
five feet of Baker, presented a self-cock- 
ing revolver, and, rapidly as he could 
crook his finger, delivered all the bullets 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

it contained into the hero's body. At 
the very same moment a musket-ball 
sped through his skull, and a terrific 
whirling slug from a Mississippi yager 
tore away the muscle of the right arm 
and opened a large hole into his side. 
"All these death-dealing shots seemed 
to strike at once, and the noble leader 
and orator, matchless of the earth, fell 
mute, to speak no more. The tragedy 
had paralyzed all beholders for the 
moment; but Captain Beirel, recovering 
his self-possession first, rushed at the 
slayer as he bent to seize the General's 
sword, took him by the throat, and, 
placing his pistol at his temple, blew out 
his brains in a red fume. Beirel had 
been followed in his onslaught by several 
members of his company, and numbers 
of the enemy had pressed forward to 
protect their red-haired comrade as they 
saw the avenger rush toward him. A 
savage hand-to-hand fight ensued over 
the General's corse. Sword-thrust, bay- 


The Death of Baker. 

onet-stab, and pistol-shot intermingled 
quickly in that ferocious episode, and 
the body of the dead chieftain, though 
trampled in the mele*e, lay smiling in its 
new-found quiet, as if approving of the 

Smiling in death ! To the eye of fancy 
the bright form of GLORY was hovering 
over the tumult. She had always lis- 
tened to his pledges and applauded his 
passion, and now she accepted his sacri- 
fice. She had kindled his visage full 
often at Cerro Gordo, at that trans- 
cendent scene in the American Theater, 
all along his shining path. She now 
poured her illumination into his fine 
face, before it could take on the inflex- 
ible majesty of the last sleep. 

The body was recovered and conveyed 
to the river. "Then," says Wilkes, "a 
sense of the great loss brought the tears 
coursing down many a smoke-smeared 

Baker belonged to a healthy, long- 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

lived race; and he was, indeed, cut off 
in his prime. His parents were members 
of the Society of Friends, and their settle- 
ment at Philadelphia, on removing from 
England, was influenced by the fact that 
a strong community of that sect existed 
in that city. The father, Edward Baker, 
introduced there the Lancaster ian System 
of Schools.* The mother's maiden name 
was Lucy Dickinson; she was a sister of 
Thomas Dickinson, a high officer in the 
British navy. She was an intellectual 
woman, and a writer of verse. She saw 
the whole career of her son, surviving 
him and attaining a great age. Baker 
wrote her the first letter bearing his 
frank as United States Senator. She 
was then past eighty, with mental powers 

* Joseph Lancaster, educator, born in London, Eng- 
land, 1788, came to America in 1818; and died in New 
York City, October 24, 1838. He, too, was of the Society of 
Friends. His "system" was the plan of employing the 
more advanced pupils to instruct the class next below 
them, a plan originally introduced into England from 
India by Dr. Andrew Bell, with whom Lancaster had an 
acrimonious controversy as to which of the two was 
entitled to priority. 


The Death of Baker. 

undimmed. She had often taken down 
her great son's speeches in shorthand, 
which she wrote with ease and elegance. 
Baker had three brothers. Alfred C. 
Baker was a physician, who lived in Barry, 
Illinois, and practiced medicine there all 
his life, excepting a period of service in 
the army as surgeon. He was himself a 
clever public speaker. He died a few 
years ago, at the age of eighty-three. 
Thomas Baker, who lived in Carrollton, 
Illinois, while yet a young man, was 
thrown from his horse and dragged to 
death, in 1846. Samuel Baker was also 
a young man when he died of cholera in 
Pekin, Illinois, in 1851. There was one 
sister, who was born in Philadelphia, 
and died a few years since at Sausalito, 
California, at the age of seventy-three. 
She was the wife of Theodore Jerome, a 
California pioneer of '49, and the mother 
of Edward Baker Jerome, now and so 
long Chief Deputy Collector of Customs 
at San Francisco. E. B. Jerome was 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

captain and aid-de-camp on his uncle's 
staff in Virginia. 

Baker's children were E. D., Jr., 
Alfred W., Caroline C., who became the 
wife of Robert J. Stevens, and Lucy, the 
wife of Charles Hopkins. E. D., Jr., was 
a colonel in the army, and died at Van- 
couver, Washington, while he was Chief 
Quartermaster in the Department of the 
Columbia, January 25, 1883, aged forty- 
four. Alfred W. was a lieutenant, and 
was aide to his father at the fatal day 
already spoken of. He was a clerk in 
the San Francisco Post Office for a very 
long period, and died here in April, 
1898. Mrs. Stevens, whose husband 
was Superintendent of the San Francisco 
Mint during the first half of President 
Lincoln's first term, is a widow; so is 
Mrs. Hopkins; and both are living in 
Seattle, Washington. E. D., Jr., was 
married, but had no issue. Alfred W. 
never married. 

Dr. A. C. Baker had three sons and 


The Death of Baker. 

two daughters. None of the sons have 
had children. Lydell, the youngest, 
married recently. 

Colonel Baker's wife was born in Balti- 
more, Maryland, and when sixteen years 
of age was married to a Colonel Lee, 
a very prominent man of education and 
refinement. They removed to Carrollton, 
Illinois, where they resided in their own 
elegant dwelling, built for them. She 
became a widow at the age of twenty, 
having then two children, Frank and 
Maria Lee. She and Colonel Baker inter- 
married when she was twenty-three and 
he twenty-one. She was a fine musician 
and sang very sweetly, and the Colonel 
having a fine tenor voice, they sang to- 
gether, and naturally fell in love. 

It is related that when the Colonel 
proposed he did it in this way, standing 
by her as she sat at the piano : He said, 
"Mary, lend me five dollars." Upon 
receipt of the money, he wrote the fol- 
lowing promissory note : 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

" Received now, five dollars 
From Mary Ann Lee, 
Which sum to repay 
I now do agree 
Unless, in the mean time, 
I shall, fond, take her, 
And change her dear name 
From Lee unto Baker." 

Their pure and fresh life-currents, 
united thus early, flowed on together for 
thirty years.* 

Mrs. Baker survived the Colonel a few 
years, dying in San Francisco at the age 
of fifty-seven. She was laid by his side. 

The Colonel's "poetry," just quoted, 
cost him less effort, although proving 
more gainful, than the lines which follow 
on the next page. 

* Innocent child and snow-white flower, 
Well are ye paired in your opening hoar I 
Thus should the pure and the lovely meet, 
Stainless with stainless, and sweet with sweet. 

Bryant, to a young couple just wedded. 



DOST thou seek a star with thy swelling 


O wave, that leavest thy mother's breast ? 
Dost thou leap from the prisoned depths 


In scorn of their calm and constant flow ? 
Or art thou seeking some distant land, 
To die in murmurs upon the strand ? 

Hast thou tales to tell of pearl-lit deep, 
Where the wave-whelmed mariner rocks in 

sleep ? 
Canst thou speak of navies that sunk in 


Ere the roll of their thunder in echo died ? 
What trophies, what banners, are floating 

In the shadowy depths of that silent sea ? 

It were vain to ask, as thou rollest afar, 
Of banner, or mariner, ship or star ; 
It were vain to seek in thy stormy face 
Some tale of the sorrowful past to trace. 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Thou art swelling high, thou art flashing 

How vain are the questions we ask of thee I 

I too am a wave on a stormy sea ; 
I too am a wanderer, driven like thee ; 
I too am seeking a distant land 
To be lost and gone ere I reach the strand. 
For the land I seek is a waveless shore, 
And they who once reach it shall wander no 

These lines were written by Baker in 
the year 1849. Shortly after his death, 
Colonel John W. Forney, proprietor of 
the Philadelphia Press, corresponding 
with his paper from Washington City, 
obtained a copy from an intimate friend 
of Baker, and they appeared in the Press 
in November, 1861. 



ALTHOUGH Baker's profession was that of the law, and 
he followed it through life, the Editor has not thought it 
proper to make that fact especially prominent in these 
pages, nor either to present him as a lawyer in the first 
instance, or let his last words be spoken in that role. 
Thus far his speeches have been given in the order of 
time. It now becomes convenient to interrupt this 
sequence, to give deserved place to the very best of his 
reported efforts at the bar. The occasion furnishes 
further illustration of the dissimilitudes in his career. 
This jury address led to the speaker's social ostracism for 
a time, at the hands of the same community which, five 
years later, followed his mortality to Lone Mountain 
amid emblems of universal sorrow. The offense of the 
prisoner then at the bar, moreover, was one of the chief 
inducements to that great popular uprising, the Vigilance 
Committee of 1856. 

On the evening of the 17th of November, 1855, General 
William H. Richardson, United States Marshal for Call- 
fornia, was shot and instantly killed by Charles Cora, a 
gambler, on the sidewalk on Clay Street, southwest 
corner of Leidesdorff, San Francisco. There had been a 
quarrel between the two men over the circumstances of 
their attendance at the theater a few nights before. Cora 
had brought a notorious woman of means, who bore his 
name, into the dress circle where General Richardson 
was seated with his wife, and the General had expressed 
his indignation in the hearing of Cora and the woman. 
The true nature of the dispute (although there was no 
allusion to it during the trial) and the opposed stations 
of the characters to it, were sufficient to invest the homi- 
cide with peculiar odiousness in the popular mind, and 
press and people denounced it with much heat. This 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

feeling ran through all the State. Expressive thereof was 
this editorial statement in the San Francisco Herald: 

"The truth is, that, from all accounts, we have come 
to the conclusion that the killing of General Richardson 
was a most atrocious murder. He was assassinated in 
cold blood, without a single effort at resistance. Those 
who have known him as we have, must be assured he 
would have sold his life dearly if he had the slightest 
chance. The deceased gentleman was of a most kind, gen- 
erous, and noble nature. That such a man should fall by 
such a hand, is to be everlastingly deplored." 

And this, from the Stockton Argnt: 

"A man is shot down in one of the principal streets 
in the chief city on the Pacific Coast, by a man who lives 
in a bawd-house, and who is instigated to the murderous 
deed by a harlot, and immediately $40,000 is raised by 
subscription to cheat the law of its course, and protect 
the murderer from suffering the penalty of his crime. Is 
there nothing wrong in public opinion here? Those per- 
sons who have raised this large sum are recognized as 
acquaintances, and often as associates, of men who would 
not stoop to any dishonorable act ; and the harlot who 
instigated the murder of Richardson, with others of her 
kind, are allowed to visit the theaters and seat themselves 
side by side with the wives and daughters of citizens. Is 
there nothing wrong in public opinion here? There is, 
and it should and must be corrected." 

As a ripple against the current, and as showing, in 
charitable possibility, some slight mitigating circum- 
stance, may be given this, from the evidence taken by 
the Coroner: 

"Dr. Mills sworn: I reside on Stockton Street; was 
not present at the occurrence last night [the killing]; 
was present at the occurrence of the previous night; was 
in the Cosmopolitan Saloon; General Richardson and 
several others were there ; Mr. Cora was introduced to 
General Richardson, and they all took a drink; went to 
the door together; Cora returned, and asked, Have I any 
friends in the room? This man is going to slap my face;' 

The Defense of Cora. 

General Richardson came in smiling, and said, 'I 
promised to slap this man's face, and I had better do 
it now;' some person then said, ' Oh, you must not do it,' 
and the thing was stopped; some words afterwards 
occurred; some person proposed to introduce General 
Richardson to Cora again, but it was not done; don't 
know why; think the General was a little tight; Cora 
appeared to be sober." There was other like testimony. 

The Coroner's jury, after hearing the evidence of 
sixteen witnesses, among them the Governor of the State 
John Bigler, found a verdict that the killing was prt 
meditated, and there was nothing to mitigate the offense 

Cora was indicted for murder, and his trial was 
opened on the 8th of January, 1856, in the old Fourth 
District Court, Judge John 8. Hager, presiding. Hon. 
William A. Piper was foreman of the jury. This gentle- 
man, now a large capitalist, was a pioneer of '49; he was 
already a considerable holder of real estate, and had been 
a member of the Board of Assistant Aldermen. In later 
years he was a member of the National House of Repre- 
sentatives (1876-76), and is still a citizen of San Francisco. 
A. B. Forbes, now and for so many years the general 
agent on this Coast for the Mutual Life Insurance Com- 
pany, of New York, was another member of this jury. He 
was then senior member of the firm of Forbes & Babcock, 
agents of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. The other 
names were Charles H. Vail, John J. Haley, Edward P. 
Flint, M. Joyce, Jacob Mayer, Thos. C. D. Olmstead, Wil- 
liam H. Stowell, John M. Easterly, A. Holmes, and I. 
Ward Eaton. This was a strong and worthy array. 

The prosecution was conducted by Henry H. Byrne, 
then and for so many terms District Attorney. His asso- 
ciates were Alexander Campbell, who made the opening 
statement, (he is still in harness, at a great age, in Los 
Angeles), and 8. W. Inge, who had represented Alabama 
in the lower house of Congress, and who closed the argu- 
ment. Baker made the closing address on behalf of the 
prisoner. Hon. Thomas W. Freelon, the county judge 
before whom Baker had made a great plea in a notable 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

case of embezzlement, went into Judge Hager's court to 
listen to him now. Afterward he pronounced the speech 
as " brilliant, eloquent, impassioned." 

District Attorney Byrne had concluded his argument 
with these words: "Gentlemen: We live in an age in 
California resembling the days of the breaking-up of the 
Roman Empire. Corruption sits in almost every quarter, 
even in high places. A man's life is of less value than 
that of a horse ; there is no security, for human life is 
trifled with. Our character as a country has become 
stained by the aspersion. And here is another victim. 
Mercy murders in pardoning him that kills. Let this 
man go, and you create a pandemonium in San Fran* 

Gen. McDougall, Baker's associate, who followed 
Byrne, had said : " We are compelled to fight a foregone 
conclusion on the part of the community. They have 
judged the prisoner already, and public opinion is press- 
ing on us from all Bides. If this prisoner is convicted, 1 
say it solemnly, it will be judicial murder." 

Baker spoke on January 14th. He felt his environment, 
and his sensibility constrained him to take notice of the 
prevailing state of public opinion; and, in so doing, he 
paid that tribute to the legal profession which is the most 
beautiful utterance in the speech. His other bold decla- 
ration, in regard to the union between Belle Cora and the 
prisoner, that " they were bound together by a tie which 
angels might not blush to approve," was the subject of 
emphatic and persistent censure. The noble advocate 
was misunderstood. 

The jury were unable to agree upon a verdict. After 
being out forty-one hours, they were discharged on Jan- 
uary 17th. It was learned that they stood six for man- 
slaughter, four for murder in the first degree, and two 
for acquittal. The prisoner was remanded to the County 
Jail. Belle Cora regularly visited him there. On one of 
these occasions, in due form of law, she was united in 
marriage to the man whose final ignominy was yet unseen ; 
and then, quite possibly, " they were bound together by a 


The Defense of Cora 

tie which angels might not blush to approve." But it 
was in the shadow of doom. Before the time set for 
Cora's second trial, the GREAT COMMITTEE took him. His 
fate was precipitated by the act of Casey in killing the 
famous editor of the Bulletin. James P. Casey, a local 
politician of some influence, and foreman of Crescent 
Engine Company, No. 10, being editorially arraigned by 
James King of William, in his paper, for offenses charged 
to have been committed in New York City several years 
prior, shot Mr. King fatally, on the street, May 14, 1856. 
The editor expired on May 20th. On the 22d, while a 
throng of friends bore his body to Lone Mountain, another 
multitude, (his friends, too, THE COMMITTEE,) marched 
by ranks to the County Jail, planted a cannon in front of 
it, took both Casey and Cora from their cells, and publicly 
hung them from the windows of the committee-rooms, on 
Sacramento Street, near Front. 

Belle Cora was then twenty-nine years of age. She 
was a native of Baltimore, Maryland. (Gen. Richardson 
was also a Marylander; Cora, an Italian.) Belle con- 
tinued her residence and her occupation in San Fran- 
cisco, dying on the 18th of February, 1862. A short history 
of her life was circulated. 

)uring the reign of THE COMMITTEE, lasting several 
months, attended by other executions and many banish- 
ments, the city being officially proclaimed by Governor 
J. Neely Johnson as in "a state of insurrection," the 
plumage of the "Old Gray Eagle" was badly ruffled by 
the storm. He spread his wings and took flight (not met- 
aphorically this time) to the mountains, resting for a 
time in El Dorado County, and on the other side of the 
Sierra, in Nevada.* 

The Editor has seen the following eloquent allusion 
to this experience of Baker, attributed to General John 
A. Collins; but when he accosted him some years before 
his death, that worthy man said he did not remember 

* The spirit of the human race resembles that of the individual ma*; it 
shines and is eclipsed by turns. Fontanes, 1800. 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

naving written it. If General Collins did not write it, 
who did? 

" Some years ago the people of San Francisco chased 
away an eloquent old man [but he was only forty-five 
EDITOK], who took refuge in the mountains of Nevada. 
He was afterwards brought back from the sacrificial 
heights of Stone River, a mangled and speechless prophet 
of freedom, and fifty thousand people laid him tenderly 
on the altitudes of Lone Mountain, within hearing of the 
eternal dirges of the ocean while his glorious words 
echoed and still echo in the valleys and mountains from 
the fountains of the San Joaquin to the sources of the 
Columbia: 'Years, long years ago, I took my stand by 
Freedom, and where in youth my feet were planted, there 
my manhood and my age shall march.' " 

Our advocate will now address the jury. 



OF THE JURY: I sincerely trust that a 
night of serene repose, after the exhaust- 
ing labor that you have undergone, has 
enabled you to return here to-day with 
dispositions equal to those which you have 
shown during the whole course of this 
investigation ; and while I feel that upon 
the defense, which I am about to end, 
will, in some sense, depend the eternal 
welfare of a human being, I feel myself 
honored and happy in being allowed, in 
such a case, and for such a purpose, to 
address a jury who have proved, not to 
the counsel alone, not to the audience 
alone, but to the prisoner himself, a 
determination to render strict and impar- 
tial justice; and I am instructed to say 
for him, what he could not have said 
when the trial began, that whatever may 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Le the end of this day, he has a profound 
and abiding conviction of your truth and 
justice. He cannot but feel that to you 
is delegated a little less than supreme 
power that none but the Almighty can 
control the consequences of your judg- 
ment; and with this painful thought 
pressing upon his mind and heart, I am 
here to say for him that he is willing to 
trust in your hands the issues of life and 
death. And, gentlemen, while I advance 
to the discussion of this case, I cannot 
forget the imposing aspect that is thrown 
around the prisoner on this occasion. 
The whole majesty of the law of a great 
and civilized country all that care in 
the selection of a jury, and labor in the 
arrangement of testimony, and zeal on 
the part of the prosecution, and care on 
the part of the defense could do, has 
been done. And while it is true, while 
it is very true, that the man who is before 
you on trial for his life, is a man of base 
character, and in some respects vicious 


The Defense of Cora. 

whose position in life is low whose 
condition at this bar is that of loneliness, 
and dependence upon one human being 
alone for sympathy and kindness; with 
all that, he is here guarded by the care 
of the judge; hedged around by the 
justice of the jury; protected by all the 
sanctions of the law ; and poor and hum- 
ble and degraded though he be, he is 
fenced about and cared for " with all the 
divinity that doth hedge a king." 

It is a painful and impressive spec- 
tacle. Nor are we to forget that it is 
the province of the law to render justice 
to the memory of one who is no longer 
among us. It would be idle for us to 
disguise that the appeal by Mr. Byrne 
(though he disclaims it) his allusion 
to the bloody grave, and the verdant sod, 
and the tearful widow, and the uncon- 
scious orphan must weigh, and will 
weigh, upon your minds. We are but 
men; we are not deprived, by being 
selected for a seat in this place, of the 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

passions and sympathies of human na- 
ture ; and I am far, and very far, from 
complaining of anything that has been 
said, or may be said, upon that subject. 
I am not inclined at all to disguise it. 
It is not they alone who feel an interest 
in the case ; something more than a con- 
cern for professional reputation presses 
them to extremes. It may be that at the 
very moment when I speak, some tearful 
woman may be upon her knees in the 
depths of her closet, imploring the 
Almighty to open your hearts to do jus- 
tice to the memory of the husband she 
has lost. I don't complain of these 
things; I don't shrink from their being 
mentioned; I ^eel them; my heart quiv- 
ers while I think of them. I do not 
wish that in any portion of this trial 
you should forget them. 

But there is another aspect of this 
case to be thought of. The man who 
is here struggling for life who is 
arraigned for the death of one claimed 


The Defense of Cora. 

to be one of the purest of our citizens, 
is said to have followed degraded and 
vicious pursuits. It is said of him that 
he is cared for by a woman of very bad 
relations in life, whose name, indeed, is 
a reproach. Against this man at the bar 
the whole public press that mighty 
engine of passion and power have 
poured out all the concentrated vials of 
their wrath and indignation. Every por- 
tion of his career has been maligned; 
every motive of his heart has been per- 
verted; every act of his life has been 
misrepresented; and imagination, if not 
upon its highest and purest, upon its 
boldest wing, has applied to him every 
epithet of reproach, and related every 
narrative of shame. Against this we have 
but one defense against this we have 
but one resource, but one hope. It is to 
be found in time, which tempers all 
things it is to be found in human sym- 
pathy and the justice of this tribunal 
in the merciful consideration of human 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

infirmity and at last in stern, naked, 
and irresistible truth. And if the lips 
about to speak to you are feeble, and if 
the thoughts about to be uttered are trem- 
bling and uncertain, if our efforts shall 
be marred by the ingenuity, skill, and 
eloquence of the gentleman who is to 
follow, it is but for us to rely solely 
upon inflexible truth; and it may be 
for him [pointing to the prisoner], with 
heart and lips all unused to prayer, to 
lift his thoughts to the Great Father of 
life, who made him as well as his Honor 
on the bench, and the jury in the box, 
to guide, impress, stimulate, and en- 
lighten his advocate to press his claims 
to liberty, life, and hope. 

The prosecution in this case charge 
that the defendant, on the night of the 
17th of November, 1855, maliciously and 
without just cause took the life of Gen- 
eral Wm. H. Richardson, Marshal of the 
United States for the Northern District 
of California; and that he is attempting 

The Defense of Cora. 

to sustain himself by a conspiracy against 
truth, honesty, and honor; and the in- 
ferences of his character are, by compari- 
son, more fatal to his hopes, because they 
say his victim was a man of elevated 
character and mind. This is the begin- 
ning of this case this is the end of this 
case the comparison is pressed on us 
at every step we take. It is idle for us 
to deny that the shield of character which 
we attempt to hold up before this de- 
fendant is in many parts frail and broken. 
He yielded in his youth to temptations 
which, like thronging devils, have pur- 
sued him all his life, and he feels to-day 
more bitterly than words of mine can 
express the want of a shield spotless 
and pure in this moment of his great 
trial. Whether he be a man of unmixed 
evil, it is for you to determine; whether 
there be not something of native good 
in a man who, amid a life of such vice 
and vicissitude, has congregated around 
him the good wishes of many friends 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

early friends friends of a better day 
it is for you, yes, to judge. No such temp- 
tations crowd upon you. The men with 
whom you mingle are not flushed with 
passion or steeped in crime. With you, 
and with all of us, it is peace, and calm, 
and quiet content. With him it is far, 
very far different; and I say, being so, 
and so most undoubtedly, amid this career 
he has been able to preserve the balance 
of his mind and the control of his tem- 
per in regard to public law, and in regard 
to private right. His quiet career is so 
much at least to be remembered in his 
favor. I plead it for him; I lay it before 
you; I ask you to consider it. Let it 
be the wand that will bring up from the 
depths of your hearts a bright, gushing 
stream from the fountains of mercy. 
But while we say this much, as to this 
man, we are not willing that the com- 
parison should be made worse than it is. 
We are not willing that this man, while 
in some respects so vicious, and in other 


The Defense of Cora. 

respects so amiable, should be arrayed, 
by way of comparison, against the life, 
conduct, and character of another man, 
dead though he be, with every virtue 
exaggerated and every good quality in- 
creased. We are compelled to say that 
the argument made against our client, 
by comparison with General Kichardson, 
is false in fact, and false in deduction. 
We make the issue ; they force it upon 
us. I would be recreant to our duty, in 
pleading for this man's life, if I feared 
to meet this issue, and I do not. We 
attempted in the beginning of this con- 
troversy to show 

1. That Cora, whatever his other habits 
may have been, was a man of peaceful 
life and conduct; 

2. That whatever the character of 
Kichardson may have been in other 
respects, he was a turbulent, dangerous 

This we announced. What have they 
done ? They have forced upon us a 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

broader issue and a more extended 
debate. They say, we will show, that 
not only was Richardson kind, quiet, 
orderly, peaceful, but that he was a man 
of generous impulses, of magnanimous 
conduct, of high tendencies of gallantry, 
of bravery, of chivalry, incapable of 
assailing a man without preparation, 
incapable of deceit in action, incapable 
of falsehood in statement, or of aught 
unworthy of the high-sounding names 
attached to him. They got Mr. Nugent.* 
He says that General Richardson was 
not only peaceable and kind, but chival- 
ric, gallant, fair, honorable, incapable of 
taking an advantage. 

Well, now, it was impossible for us, 
after that notice, and after we heard that 
line of proof, not to turn our attention 
to the facts, and inquire whether this be 
so or not; and when we made up our 
minds to accept the challenge, and to 

* John Nugent, editor of the Herald, which had pro- 
nounced the homicide murder. But Mr. Nugent and his 
paper were soon to oppose the Vigilance Commitee. 

The Defense of Cora. 

enter into that controversy, we did it, 
well knowing all the uses that could be 
made of it in declamation, if we made 
the attempt. I would be insensible to 
the many merits of Colonel Inge and 
Mr. Byrne if I did not know how well 
they will declaim about the raking up 
of the ashes of the dead. They will 
say that Kichardson is lying now in his 
bloody grave, and that not content with 
that, we are arraying against his memory 
all the forgotten stories that can be 
recalled of his past career. 

Is that true? Did we do it? Could 
we avoid what we have done ? When I 
stand up there and find my client over- 
whelmed with a mountain of infamy, and 
plunged into the depths of degradation 
by comparison with the man who is now 
lying in a bloody though quiet grave, 
shall I suffer it to pass? Never. They 
may declaim till the heavens fall they 
may accuse us of want of feeling of 
mercy, of anything else. I care not. I 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

appeal to the facts. Whatever the pris- 
oner is, he was peaceful, amiable, kind. 
Good though the other man was as a 
husband and a father, he was violent, 
dangerous, and, in his anger, deadly. As 
for being magnanimous and honorable, 
he was not so ; but what he was from the 
first day that we hear of him, he remained 
to the last full of faults, though not 
without redeeming qualities. We must 
prove it by his general reputation. 
What was that reputation here? Why 
did Mr. Turner tell us that when he 
came in contact with him, had it not 
been for his coolness he would have lost 
his life? What was his reputation the 
night Cora killed him? What did Tur- 
ner think of him ? What is reputation ? 
Why are not we allowed to make an in- 
vestigation as to specific facts? Why is 
it that, with the reputation of a peaceable 
man, he is always in trouble ? Have you 
been in trouble? Are you assaulted? 
Are you seen belted behind a knife and 


The Defense of Cora. 

pistol day and night, in season and out 
of season? Are you reputed to be sud- 
den and quick in quarrel? Are your 
past lives checkered with adventure after 
adventure, which your best friends dare 
not repeat? Is that peace? Are you 
Been at the very depths of midnight in 
more than doubtful company, and reck- 
less, drunken, desperate, meditating as- 
sassination, regardless whether your vic- 
tim be friend or foe ? When they crowd 
upon Cora, and upon Glennon, and upon 
Thomas, and upon Whitnell, and upon 
Smith, and upon Willis, and charge in- 
famy and perjury, is not that, to use the 
language of Mr. Byrne, "piling Pelion 
upon Ossa, or Ossa upon Pelion"? 
Shall we make no report? What could 
Cora expect from Richardson? Could 
he say, with the pistol to his breast, 
" This man is too magnanimous to shoot 
me, he is too honorable to assail me, 
he has lived a life of purity and peace 
too long to vary from his usual course." 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Gentlemen, there is no character to 
throw into the scales against us. Eich- 
ardson bore no flaming sword of repu- 
tation to weigh against our cause and 
make it touch the beam. [The advocate 
here commented at great length upon the 
various passages in the history of Gen- 
eral Eichardson, as detailed by the wit- 
nesses and then proceeded.] 

The other side complain that we have 
three counsel, and they say, "Cora is 
well able to pay for their services. If 
he had been poor, they would not have 
been here." Mr. Byrne ought to think 
better of his profession. Mr. Byrne 
ought to be governed by better impulses, 
or rather, he ought to refrain from doing 
f injustice to his opponents. 

The profession to which we belong is, 

) of all others, fearless of public opinion. 

It has ever stood up against the tyranny 

I of monarchs on the one hand, and the 

tyranny of public opinion on the other; 

and if, as the humblest among them, it 


The Defense of Cora. 

becomes me to instance myself, I may 
say with a hold heart, and I do say it 
with a bold heart, that there is not in all 
this world a wretch, so humble, so guilty, 
so despairing, so torn with avenging 
furies, so pursued by the arm of the law, 
so hunted to cities of refuge, so fearful 
of life, so afraid of death; there is no 
wretch so steeped in all the agonies of 
vice and crime, that I would not have 
a heart to listen to his cry, and a tongue 
to speak in his defense, though around 
his head all the wrath of public opinion 
should gather, and rage, and roar, and 
roll, as the ocean rolls around the rock. 
And if I ever forget, if I ever deny, that v 
highest duty of my profession, may God 
palsy this arm and hush my voice forever. 

[Colonel Baker here went into a long 
analysis of all the evidence.] 

Mrs. Knight swears that Richardson 
had one arm raised. Two others, for 
the prosecution also, say he had not 
Remember that the raising of his arm 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

is life or death to us. If Cora killed 
him with his hands down, it is murder; 
if there was a struggle, it was different. 
I believe Richardson was brave. I don't 
believe that the man lives who, twice in 
one day, could back Richardson up 
against a door, and put a pistol to his 
bosom and hold it there, while he, Rich- 
ardson, cowered like a slave. Is there no 
moral law to be observed ? Is there no 
correspondence in the nature of things ? 
Did Richardson, as Mrs. Knight says, 
raise his arms? Did he, as Getting 
says, have his arms pinioned ? Now, 
before you go one step farther towards 
a conclusion, you must be satisfied on 
that point, and you must all agree upon 
it. Again, a pistol, cocked, was found 
near his hand. Now, I want to utter 
a word upon which eternal things may 
depend. I ask you, was that pistol 
drawn before Richardson was shot? 
Can you believe he stood up in that 
doorway for four minutes with a pistol 


The Defense of Cora. 

cocked and say he was unarmed? Mr. 
Cook may have been mistaken, but 
whether he was or not, the pistol was 
there, the knife was there. They were 
drawn ; he drew them ; they were drawn 
in combat; and, being drawn, it justified 
the utmost extremity of arms, before men 
or angels. 

In relation to the impeachment of the 
witness Thomas, it is no argument that 
he did not tell the truth because he sells 
fruit, or because he failed in business, 
or because his character in relation to 
women is bad. I might enter into an 
elaborate argument to show that because 
he sells fruit he is all the more liable to 
tell the truth, because he deals in the 
fruits of nature. I would be very sorry 
to say that he told a lie because he failed 
in business, because, then, all the good 
men who have failed here, and who will 
fail, would be considered unworthy of 
credence. And as to his character in 
relation to women, I have only to say 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

that charity is one thing, and veracity 
another. The theory of the prosecution 
is that we bribed Thomas, and Glen- 
non, and Marsh, and Corbiniere. II 
would be strange if in all this bribery 
we could not get one man who saw some 
identical fact fatal to the prosecution 
Why did not we get some one to pul 
into the mouth of Kichardson such words 
as "D n you, I '11 shoot you, anyhow." 
I cannot see that there could be any 
more perfect clincher to the case. ] 
ask you, if our side intended to corrupl 
or bribe, why could we not get some 
man to prove that ? According to theii 
account, could not Glennon swear to any- 
thing? The case rests on the proba- 
bility of statements as to facts, and there 
is something in the human heart native 
to truth which will give credence to the 
story of our witnesses, unless there be 
some specific affirmation to the contrary. 
I will now proceed to grapple with 
the great bugbear of the case. The 


The Defense of Cora. 

complaint, on their side, is that Belle 
Cora has tampered with the witnesses. 
Mr. Byrne has chosen to declare that the 
line of defense was concocted in a place 
which he has been pleased to designate 
as a haunt of sensuality. In plain Eng- 
lish, Belle Cora is helping her friend as 
much as she can. It may appear strange 
to him, but I am inclined to admit the 
plain, naked fact ; and in the Lord's name, 
who else should help him? Who else 
is there whose duty it is to help him ? 
If it were not for her, he would not have 
a friend on earth. This howling, raging 
public opinion would banish every friend, 
even every man who once lived near him. 
The associates of his life have fled in the 
day of trouble. Sunshine friends, who 
basked in the noontide of its beaming, 
have vanished in the hour of its decline. 
It is a woman of base profession, of more 
than easy virtue, of malign fame, of a 
degraded caste, it is one poor, weak, 
feeble, and, if you like it, wicked woman, 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

to her alone he owes his ability to 
employ counsel to present his defense. 

What we want to know is, what have 
they against that? What we want to 
know is, why don't they admire it ? What 
we want to know is, why don't they admit 
the supremacy of the divine spark in the 
merest human bosom, as if to teach that 
there is good in things most evil ? The 
history of this case is, I suppose, that 
this man and this woman have formed a 
mutual attachment, not sanctioned, if you 
like, by the usages of society, thrown 
out of the pale of society, if you like, 
not sanctioned by the rights of the 
Church. It is but a trust in each other, 
a devotion to the last, amid all the dan- 
gers of the dungeon and all the terrors 
of the scaffold. They were bound to- 
gether by a tie which angels might not 
blush to approve. A bad woman may 
lose her virtue; it would be infinitely 
worse to lose her faith according to her 
own standard. If you mean to say that 


The Defense of Cora. 

it is a reproach to this man that he has 
one friend, and that a woman, to stand 
by him, I say that that is, perhaps, her 
greatest virtue. A man who can attach 
to him a woman, however base in heart 
and corrupt in life, is not all bad. A 
woman who can maintain her trust, who 
can waste her money like water to stand 
by her friend, whether that friend be her 
lover or paramour, amid the darkest 
clouds that can gather, that woman can- 
not be all evil ; and if, in vice, and degra- 
dation, and pollution, and infamy, she 
rises so far above it all as to vindicate 
her original nature, I must confess that 
I honor this trait of fidelity. That she 
might go too far in the defense of her 
friend, no man can doubt. If I were 
charged with the crime of murder, and 
my friends, insects born in a summer's 
beam, were to flee from me, if my good 
name stood me in no stead, if I were 
bound at the altar, if the sacrificial priest 
were to have his arm bared and knife 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

brandished to strike my wife would 
stand by me, and if she should bribe a 
juror, would I condemn her? Would 
you? The rigid moralist would con- 
demn, and the stern judge would punish, 
but her act would accord with the prin- 
ciples of human nature irrepressible, 
uncontrollable, higher than all law. 

That a woman should, in adversity and 
bitterness, and sorrow and crime, stand 
by her friend in the dungeon, on the 
scaffold, with her money, and tears, and 
defiance, and vengeance, all combined, is 
human and natural. This woman is bad ; 
she has forgotten her chastity fallen 
by early temptation from her high estate ; 
and among the matronage of the land 
her name shall never be heard. She has 
but one tie, she acknowledges but one 
obligation, and that she performs in the 
gloom of the cell and the dread of death ; 
nor public opinion, nor the passions of the 
multitude, nor the taunts of angry counsel, 
nor the vengeance of the judge, can sway 


The Defense of Cora. 

her for a moment from her course. If 
any of you have it in your heart to con- 
demn, and say " Stand back ! I am holier 
than thou," remember Magdalene, name 
written in the Book of Life. 

I feel prouder of human nature, I 
have learned a new lesson. Hide him 
in the felon's grave, with no inscription 
consecrated to the spot; and when you 
have forgotten it, and the memories of 
the day are past, there will be one bosom 
to heave a sigh in penitence and prayer, 
there will be one eye to weep a refresh- 
ing tear over the sod, one trembling 
hand to plant flowers above his head. 
Let them make the most of it. I scorn 
the imputation that infamy should rest 
on him for her folly and her faith. Let 
them make the most of it, and when the 
great Judge of all shall condemn, when, 
in that dread hour, you and I and she 
shall, stand at the common tribunal for 
the deeds done or aimed to be done at 
this day, if this be remembered against 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

her at all, it will be lost in the record of 
a thousand crimes perpetrated by high 
and noble souls. Let a man who feels 
in his heart no responsive type of such 
traits of goodness, of truest courage in 
darkest destiny, let that man be the first 
to put his hand to the bloody verdict. 
Beyond this there is nothing more to be 
said. The imputation on our witnesses 
is that they went to Belle Cora's. The 
imputation on their witnesses is the same 
thing. What then? It proves nothing. 
There is public opinion now ; there 
was no such thing as genuine public 
opinion at the time of the homicide it 
was bastard. It is now calm, intelligent, 
reflecting, determined, and just. If you 
mean to be the oracles of this public 
opinion, in God's name, speak ! If you 
mean to be priests of the divinity which 
honest men may worship, answer! If 
you are the votaries of the other, you 
are but the inflamed Cassandra of a 
diseased imagination and of a prurient 


The Defense of Cora. 

public mind. If of the former, I bow at 
your feet, in honor of the mysteries of 
your worship. Against this man the 
public press, so potent for good, so 
mighty for evil, inflames and convulses 
the public mind and judgment. There 
is not one thing they have said that is in 
accordance with truth and justice ; there 
is not one version they have given that 
is based on testimony and facts. 

My task is performed. In the name 
of our common humanity; in the name 
of Him who died for that humanity ; by 
the remembrance of your mothers and 
fathers ; by your respect and admiration 
for woman, the nearest and dearest ties 
that we can feel ; by your consciousness 
of your own imperfections, I adjure you 
to consider in mercy. And, as you deal 
with the prisoner, may the common 
Father of us all deal with you. So 
may the prayers of the mother whose 
heart yet yearns toward him reach you. 
So may his future life evince the sincerity 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

of his repentance in the solitude of the 
jail. So may you be prosperous. And 
so may you answer for your judgment on 
that great day when you and the prisoner 
at the bar shall alike stand up to answer 
for all the deeds done in the body. 





THE first shall be last Colonel Baker 
delivered the address at the dedication 
of Lone Mountain Cemetery on the 30th 
of May, 1854. His body was there 
interred, with imposing ceremonies, on 
the llth of December, 1861. On the 
last occasion, after all else had been 
done, Thomas Starr King (whom Baker's 
death had left greatest in the State), 
standing by the unfilled grave, said: 
" We have borne him now to the home 
of the dead, to the cemetery which, after 
fit services of prayer, he devoted in a ten- 
der and thrilling speech, to its hallowed 

This speech has been lost, or it would 
have the first place in this collection. 

Bishop Kip, of the Episcopal Church, 
and Bev. F. T. Gray, also made addresses 
on that occasion. 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Frank Soule* and F. B. Austin read 
original poems. The Mayor, C. K. Gar- 
rison, gave a history of the private 
enterprise resulting in the setting apart 
of the cemetery. There were prayers 
by Bishop Kip and Kev. A. Williams; 
a selected choir rendered three anthems 
and the Doxology; and the "Benedic- 
tion" was by Eev. W. A. Scott, Pres- 

The city cemetery up to that time was 
in the area now covered by the City Hall, 
between Market, McAllister, and Larkin 
streets. The Lone Mountain undertaking 
was by a private corporation, composed 
of Nathaniel Gray, Frank B. Austin, and 
William H. Eanlett, who purchased a 
tract of one hundred and seventy-three 
acres. The title Lone Mountain, changed 
many years later to Laurel Hill, was 
selected by a council of advisers, after 
the name of the elevation touching the 
tract on the south. 

It was a long time before the old ceme- 


Lone Mountain Immortality. 

tery was discharged of its solemn trust 
and its precious dust, to make place for 
the present City Hall. The remains of 
Hon. Edward Gilbert were not removed 
therefrom to Lone Mountain until May 2, 
1863. This was done by Eureka Typo- 
graphical Union, to which Mr. Gilbert 
belonged. Baker, in his reply to Benja- 
min, referred to the many defeats of the 
Whig party. If he had arrived in San 
Francisco a little earlier, he would have 
seen a Whig, in the person of Gilbert, 
representing the city in the lower House 
of Congress. Gilbert came here as early 
as the spring of '47. He was raised to 
the printer's trade. On January 4, 1849, 
he and others founded the Alia California 
newspaper, and he wrote the editorials. 
He was a member of the first Constitu- 
tional Convention, 1849. On August 2, 
1852, he fell in a duel with pistols with 
General James W. Denver, in Sacramento 
County. He was a native of New York, 
and at his death was thirty years of age. 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

Baker, in his Broderick Oration, links 
his name with those of Broderick and 
Ferguson. General Denver was one of 
three brothers very prominent in Demo- 
cratic politics, all acquiring high official 
station. The General was State Senator 
from Trinity when he fought this duel. 
Afterwards he was twice Secretary of 
State, and resigned on being elected to 
Congress. He was a brigadier-general 
in the Federal Army during the War of 
the Rebellion. Colorado's capital is 
named after him.* 

The attendance at the Lone Mountain 
Dedication was large, the weather beauti- 
ful and observe the date, MAY THIRTI- 
ETH ! The ladies comprised at least one 
half of those present. Of course there 

* Broderick and Denver were in the State Senate at 
the same time, 1852. Although belonging to the same 
party, they were not cordial, and Broderick in conversa- 
tion referred to Denver as " the huge-thighed Senator 
from Trinity." Denver, who was a very large man, of 
splendid presence, smarted under this, but it was hardly 
provocation for a duel, even in those days. He was still 
biding his time when Broderick was called out by Terry. 


Lone Mountain Immortality. 

were no street-cars at that day indeed, 
there were no streets within miles of the 
place. The only available route was 
along Pacific Street, and the old road to 
the Presidio, and thence south over the 
high ridge leading out to Point Lobos. 
Omnibuses left the City Hall (since the 
Old City Hall now the Hall of Justice) 
every half hour from 8 : 30 to 10 : 30 A. M. 
The exercises were begun at eleven, and 
occupied the rest of the day, with inter- 

It was a pleasant nook, then called 
" The Dell," not especially attractive but 
for the circumstance that nature had 
reserved and protected it from a girdle 
of sand-dunes. Before they carried 
Baker back to his illustrious sepulture, 
the prospect far around was redeemed 
by the hand of man, and was all green 
and gold with the refreshment of streams 
and fountains. "An air of such utter 
loneliness and solitude pervades the 
place," said a writer of that time, refer- 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

ring to " The Dell," " that a stranger, upon 
entering it, before he had seen a grave 
or a tomb, would at once come to the 
conclusion that it was a cemetery. Na- 
ture seems to have designed it for the 
very purpose for which it has been set 

The Editor, who arrived in San Fran- 
cisco some weeks prior to this event, 
would like to show the kind reader to 
the spot where the ceremonies took 

" The Dell " was in the western end of 
the cemetery, near the Old Lodge, which 
was moved there in 1894, to make place 
for the present splendid Lodge, or office 
building. The then somewhat romantic 
little hollow was cleared of underbrush 
many years before that time, and filled 
in with sand. Many hundreds of burials 
have been made there, and it is still being 
used for this purpose. 

There is nothing to mark the old spot 
or recall the old day. The old Lodge, 

Lone Mountain Immortality. 

at least, instead of being placed hard by, 
might well have been planted on the very 
site where Baker stood. The image of 
Baker in white marble, " Godlike, erect," 
a shaft of light, would be fittest memo- 
rial would it not ? The lips in speech, 
a hand upraised, and the noble head un- 
covered to the winds of heaven? But 
read on. 

The city and the State were very young. 
Not many who made up that presence 
recognized Baker as he stood before 
them. He was even then quite gray, at 
the age of forty-three. 

An extract from Baker's speech has 
been preserved. It is as follows : 

Perhaps it may be well to acknowledge as a principle 
the great fact of immortality. No man desires annihila- 
tion. No man. whatever be his faults or his crimes, is 
willing to go into endless night; and when we come here, 
however loath we may be to stand in the Divine Presence, 
still we recognize the fact that we are immortal, and the 
truth peals like eternal thunder in our ears, "Thou ehalt 
live forever!" With these thoughts we dedicate this 
spot. Here future generations, in long and solemn pro- 
cession, shall bring warriors who have given their lives 
for their country; statesmen, remembered by the liberty 
they helped to create, and the institutions they aided to 
perfect. Here shall be brought the poet, who, buoyant, 

Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

passed through sea and land, through earth and sky, and 
vale and river, penetrating the affections and accomplish- 
ing the refinement of men. The projector worn with 
toil and gray with thought leaving monuments to his 
fame and memorials of his greatness, here, too, shall come 
to end his life ; and, too, the tender maiden, smitten in 
early blossom;* and the little child, the pledge of love, 
to whose grave the aching heart shall oft repair to weep 
and pray. 

Rev. Albert Williams, who was present, 
refers thus to this dedication, in his book, 
"A Pioneer Pastorate": 

Intensely interesting and ever-memorable was the 
eloquent oration delivered by our singularly gifted Pacific 
Coast orator, Colonel E. D. Baker. While every part of 
that oration was most fitting and impressive, and passage 
after passage thrilled the hearts of the large assemblage 
gathered in "The Dell," especially sublime was that por- 
tion of which the theme was the Resurrection, and which 
the speaker closed with a recitation, iu truest pathos, of 
the stanza from Dr. Watts: 

God, my Redeemer, lives, 

And often from the skies 
Looks down and watches all my dust, 
Till He shall bid it rise. 

His aspiring spirit was advised of the 
invisible things of a higher life.f He 

* At last the rootlets of the trees 
Shall find the prison where she lies. 
And bear the buried dust they seize 
In leaves and blossoms to the skies. 
So may the Soul that warmed it, rise ! 


t Believe all that thy heart prompts; for everything 
that it seeks, exists. Plato. 


Lone Mountain Immortality. 

could not be better pictured to aftertimes 
than as he stood now nor have a more 
commanding place in the memory of 

We will leave the great man there! 
His mortality is there, indeed, to remain, 
as he said over Ferguson, "in its last 
resting-place until the trump of the 
Archangel shall sound " ; but we will 
leave the man there, also, in his abound- 
ing prime. We will take our last affec- 
tionate look at him, while he is speaking, 
as it were, to time and to eternity, and 
pointing upward. 

It was with such a sentiment that 
Dickens parted with AGNES, that best 
creation of his mind, said to be the 
finest character in the whole range of 
fiction. He had seen her in that attitude 
more than once, when she was more per- 
suasive than speech an angel in the 
house of sickness and the shadow of 
death and he gave her this final apos- 
trophe : 


Masterpieces of E. D. Baker. 

" Oh, Agnes! Oh, my soul ! so may thy face be by me 
when I close my life indeed ; so may I, when realities are 
melting from me like the shadows which I now dismiss, 
still find thee near me, pointing upward!" 

Very often, in professional and party 
conflict, on the battle-field, and in the 
high councils of State, Baker attracted 
the universal eye. But he really never 
stood on a more elevated tribune than 
when, on the very verge of the continent, 
under the inducement of the illimitable 
sea and sky, and pointing upward, he 
asserted the immortality of the soul of 

We will leave the great man there 
rather we will keep him ever present to 
the mind and heart, as he stood on the 
ocean's bound that far-off day in the 
new home for mortal rest, in "The 
Dell " pointing upward ! 




Adams, John Quincy : Views on Secession 149, 151 

41 Affection, Forgiveness, Faith " 52 

American Theater Speech 89 

Anecdotes: The Duke of York 218 

Old Boiling Green 199 

Dr. Johnson 137 

Governor Low's Wagr. 89 

Baker's Courtship 281 

Apostrophe to Science...., 22 

Atlantic Cable Address 15 

Austin, F.B.: Poet at Lone Mountain Dedication 322 

Baker, E. D. ; Introductory Notice 9 

Further History. . . .13, 40, 63, 131, 227, 243, 273, 289, 319 

Death of ! 273 

Family of 278 

Poem by 283 

Benjamin, Judah P. : Reply to 131 

Bigler, Governor John: Witness in Cora Case 289 

Brady, James T. : Allusion to 227 

Breckinridge, JohnC.: Reply to 243 

Broderick, David C. : Noticeof 63,324 

Duel with Judge Terry 64 

Baker's Oration 67 

Byrne, Henry H. : District Attorney in Cora Case 289 

Campbell, Alexander : Counsel in Cora Case 289 

Casey, James P.: Hung by Vigilance Committee 291 

CerroGordo, Battle of: Allusion to 236 

Character 44 

Collins, John A. : Tribute to Baker 291 

Cometof 1858: Allusion to 30 

Cora, Charles: Trial of 287 

His Execution 291 

Marries Belle Cora in Jail 291 

Baker's Defense of 293 



Dedication of Lone Mountain Cemetery 319 

Den ver, General Jas.W.: Duel with Ed ward Gilbert. 323-324 

Dickens and " Agnes " 329 

Dickinson, Daniel S. : Tribute to Baker 227 

Dix, General John A. : Allusion to 227 

Douglas, Stephen A. : Allusions to 93, 132, 189 

Duels Dueling 48,64, 323 

Baker's Protest.... 80-81 

Duke of York as Bishop; Anecdote of 218 

Eaton, L Ward: One of the Cora Jury 289 

Easterly, Jno. M. " " 289 

Enthusiastic Scene in American Theater 115 

Eureka Typographical Union : Burial of Gilbert 323 

Ferguson, Wm. I.: Notice of 39 

Duel with Geo. Pen Johnston 39 

Baker's Eulogy 41 

Fessenden, Wm. Pitt: "The Tarpeian Rock". 244, 261 

Flint, Edward P.: One of the Cora Jury 289 

Forbes, A. B.: " " 289 

Forney, John W. : Baker's Poem 284 

" Freedom ": Tribute to 125 

Freedom and Slavery 104, 109, 115, 124, 215 

Freelon, Judge Thos.W.: Baker's Plea in Cora Case ... 289 
Fremont, John C. : At the American Theater ... 92 

Further Reference 117, 118 

Fugitive Slave Law, The 188, 190, 195 

Garibaldi : Allusion to 115 

Garrison, Mayor C. K.; Presides at Lone Mountain 

Dedication 322 

Gilbert, Edward: Duel with Denver 323 

Gray, Rev. F. T. : At Lone Mountain Dedication 320 

Gray, Nathaniel : Lone Mountain Cemetery Association 322 

'"~ Gwin, William M. : References to 63,132 

Hager. Judge John S.: Presides at Trial of Cora 289 

Haley, John J. : One of the Cora Jury 289 

Halleck Block : On Site of American Theater 89 

Holmes, A. : One of the Cora Jury 289 

Immortality: Lone Mountain Cemetery 321 

Inge, 8. W.: Counsel in the Cora Case 289 



* Irrepressible Conflict, The" 121, 122 

Jackson, Andrew: Views on Secession 162, 153 

Jerome, E. B. : Captain on Baker's Staff 279 

Johnson, Governor J. Neely: Proclaims San Francisco 

in Insurrection 291 

Johnson, Dr. Samuel: Anecdote of 137 

Johnston, Geo. Pen : Duel with Ferguson 39-40 

Joyce, M. : One of the Cora Jury 289 

King of William, James: Killed by Casey 291 

King, Thomas Starr : At Baker's Sepulture 321 

Kip, Bishop W. I. : At Lone Mountain Dedication 321 

Lane, General Joseph: Allusion to 103 

Latham, Milton S. : Election as Governor. 64 

Presents Baker's Credentials in Senate 131 

Legal Profession, The : Baker's Tribute 306 

Lincoln, Abraham : Carries California and Oregon 131 

Further Reference .y.^^?.?^? 118 ' 188 189 193 Jn243 
Lone Mountain Cemetery: Dedication in 1854 321 

Original Incorporators 321 

Low, Governor F. F. : Loses a Wager with Baker 89 

Mayer, Jacob: One of the Cora Jury 289 

Missouri Compromise, The : Reference to 1%, 198 

Motley's "Dutch Republic": " " 174 

McDougall, James A. : Counsel in Cora Case 290 

Other Reference 266 

Nesmith, James W.: Baker's Colleague in the Senate. . 120 

New York Monster Mass-Meeting of 1861 227 

Nugent.John: Witness in Cora Case 302 

Views of the Herald on Cora's Act 288 

"Old Boiling Green": Anecdote of 199 

"Old Gray Eagle": Baker So Titled 244 

Olmstead, Thos. C. D. : One of the Cora Jury 289 

Perley, D. W. : Challenges Senator Broderick to a Duel 64 

Pericles on the Grandeur of Athens 32-33 

Politics: Pursuitof 53 

Piper, William A. : Foreman of the Cora Jury 289 

Ranlett, Wm. H. : Lone Mountain Cemetery Association 322 

Raymond, Henry J. : Allusion to 227 

Reply to Benjamin 135 



Reply to Breckinridge 243 

Revolution of 1688 173 

Richardson, Wm. H.. U. 8. Marshal : Killing of. 287 

" Right and Duty are Majestic Ideas " 140 

San Francisco Proclaimed to be in Insurrection 291 

"Science": Apostrophe to 22 

Scott, Rev. W. A. : At Lone Mountain Dedication 322 

Seward, Wm. H. : Allusions to 99, 121, 122 

Shields, GeneralJames: Disabled at Cerro Gordo 244 

Slavery in Southern States 210, 217 

Soul6, Frank: Poet at Lone Mountain Dedication.. 822 

Southern States, The: Peopleof 113-114 

Stanly, Edward: Eulogy of Baker 66, 228 

Stowell, Wm. H.: One of the Cora Jury 289 

"Tarpeian Rock, The": Baker's Allusion. 244,261 

Terry, David S. : Duel with Broderick 64 

"ToaWave": Poem by Baker 283 

Tribute to "Freedom". 125 

" the Legal Profession ....306 

Trumbull, Lyman : Allusions to 132. 243 

Vail, Chas. H.: One of the Cora Jury 289 

Victor Emanuel: Allusion to 115 

Victoria, Queen: " " 115 

Vigilance Committee of 1856 287, 291 

War 23 

Webster, Daniel: Views on Secession.. .146, 147, 155, 221, 223 

Weller, John B. : Defeats Broderick for Senator 63 

Whig Party, The : Allusions to 94, 95, 99, 243 

Williams, Rev. A. : Baker's Lone Mountain Address. 322, 328 
Wilkes, Geo.: Notices of Baker and Broderick. . .65, 275, 276 
Yerba Buena Cemetery: Site of New City Hall 822