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Full text of "Millard Fillmore, constructive statesman, defender of the Constitution, president of the United States"

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MILLARD FILLMORE 



CONSTRUCTIVE STATESMAN, DEFENDER 

OF THE CONSTITUTION, PRESIDENT 

OF THE UNITED STATES 



WILLIAM ELLIOT GRIFFIS, D.D., L.H.D. 



CORPORAL IN THE FLAG-GUARD, 44th REG'T, PA. VOLS., 1863, 

PIONEER EDUCATOR IN JAPAN, 1870-1874 ; AUTHOR 

OF « THE MIKADO'S EMPIRE," " BRAVE LITTLE 

HOLLAND," "BELGIUM, THE LAND 

OF ART," ETC., 



ANDRUS & CHURCH 
ITHACA, N. Y. 






11 
.a 85' 



Copyright, HIS 
WILLIAM ELLIOT GRIFFIS 



Pres9 of 
ANDRUS & CHURCH 

ITHACA, N.Y. MAR 3 |'9I5 









c 



V DEDICATED TO 

the elder kinsmen of i850-'6i 

from whom a Philadelphia boy learned politics 

to the comrades of i86i-'65 in the Federal armies 

and to all 

who love the Union of States 

made under God by the fathers of '76. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Chapter Page 

I. Born in the Forest i 

II. Pioneer in Religious Freedom 3 

III. Early Politics in the Empire State S 

IV. In Washington. Leader of the House 16 

V. The Magnetic Telegraph 24 

VI. Champion of American Principles . 29 

VII. Parties and Politics in 1848 35 

VIII. Vice President. Asserter of Nationalism 41 

IX. Union the Supreme Issue 49 

X. The President and His Cabinet 56 

XI. The Supremacy of the National Government 62 

XII. Loyalty to the Constitution 69 

XIII. Our Policy of Non-intervention 77 

XIV. The Yankee in Europe 85 

XV. Our Flag in Every Sea 90 

XVI. Fillmore's Expedition to Japan 95 

XVII. The Monroe Doctrine and the Filibusters 104 

XVIII. National Honor. The Canal and the Treaties 1 13 

XIX. The Nominating Convention of 1852 120 

XX. The Era of Prosperity : 1849-1853 125 

XXI. Politics and Immigration 133 

XXII. The First Citizen of Buffalo 138 



PREFACE 

The problems that emerged in 1850 before the American 
people are, for the most part, awaiting solution in 19 15, and 
it is to these that Millard Fillmore gave his chief attention 
and energies, as the facts of history set forth in this book 
will show. 

So far from being the "colorless" man in American 
politics, which rivals and enemies, the ignorant and the 
copyists have made him, Millard Fillmore was a man of 
active mind and deep convictions. He helped mightily to 
bring in the modern world. He killed off one war and 
postponed for a decade the greatest. He sent a peaceful 
armada to Japan and introduced the Orient to America 
and the Occident. He was a zealous champion of a canal 
joining the Atlantic and the Pacific. He was a Union man 
when sectionalism was rampant and explosive. He stood 
for the whole country. 

During his presidency, the economic map of the world 
was altered. He was strenuous in making the United States 
a world-power, and our politics cosmopolitan. His aid was 
potent in changing our relatively poor land to one of the 
richest of countries, when California's gold disturbed the 
economic equilibrium of the world. 

Few public men have had a nobler record of constructive 
statesmanship. As state legislator, he secured the repeal 
of laws requiring imprisonment for debt and also the aboli- 
tion of religious qualifications for test oaths. He de- 
veloped the public school system, opposed with might the 
distribution of State or city funds for sectarian education, 
and as Comptroller of the Commonwealth anticipated the 
system of national banks. 

In Congress he was the father 6f the protective tariff of 
1842, and of a frontier policy which maintained the peace 

vii 



PREFACE 

of a hundred years, commemorated by English-speaking 
nations in 191 5. Ahead of most men in foresightedness, he 
urged the electric telegraph to national success. 

As Vice-president, he vindicated the dignity of the na- 
tional government through his initial establishment of fixed 
rules of order in the Senate, demonstrating that ours was 
not a leagne of states, but an indestructible union, a nation. 

As president, he fathered the Japan expedition, hastened 
cheap postage and international copyright, defeated sec- 
tionalism and foiled the filibusters. He fixed in our 
national life the policy of non-interference in European 
affairs, developed the beauty of the city of Washington and 
the re-building of the national capitol, opposed unrestricted 
emigration and held the same opinions on slavery as did 
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Molten in the 
hot fires of the passions generated in fratrascidal war, public 
opinion concerning Millard Fillmore crystallized too soon. 
Recent historians have been more just in their judgments. 

Fillmore was an ardent champion of the Union before 
and after the war between the states. He ever honored 
the Constitution. He grappled manfully with still un- 
settled problems, such as the keeping of national faith in 
treaties, maintaining a consistent national policy with the 
Monroe Doctrine, ever believing in arbitration instead of 
war, and in the supremacy of the nation. His spirit was 
always that of a national, not a sectional patriot. 

In private life he was a model citizen. Not many presi- 
dents of the United States can show a record like his. 
Misrepresented and maligned during his life, he kept silence 
and bided his time. His name will shine brighter as the 
years roll on. 

From hundreds of printed books and public documents, 
in America, Europe and Japan, from the forty or more 
volumes of Mr. Fillmore's own collection of manuscript 
" Letters received " during his presidency, (long supposed 



PREFACE 

to be lost, but discovered in 1908 and now in the Library 
of the Buffalo Historical Society), the two volumes of 
"Fillmore Papers," published by the same Society, con- 
taining his letters, speeches and newspaper reports (in 
which will be found much information omitted in this 
work), and from autographs of various kinds and dates, 
from the letters and personal testimony of living witnesses 
who knew the man, from my own boyhood's reminiscences, 
from the conversation of elders, from civil war experiences, 
and from research in Japan, Europe and America, I have 
constructed this life-story of our thirteenth president. He 
was not least in a line of rulers, which for ethical purity, 
high character and signal abilities, knows no superior in 
the world's long history. 

W. E. G. 
January 1, 191 5. 
Ithaca, N. Y. 



CHAPTER I. 
Born in the Forest. 

Millard Fillmore was born in the forest of the Iroquois 
lake region, when the census of wolves, bears, panthers, 
and deer exceeded that of humanity by a thousand fold. 
At Summer Hill, in the town of Locke, in Cayuga County, 
N. Y. , he opened his eyes on the early morning of January 
7th, 1800. There was no cradle, but a maple-sugar sap- 
trough held the new baby. The first-born son had a little 
sister. Nathaniel Fillmore his father, and Phoebe Millard, 
his mother joined the two family names and called their son 
Millard Fillmore. Of his ancestry, his father's struggles 
as a pioneer, and of his own boyhood, the president of the 
United States wrote in his autobiographic " Narrative " in 
1 87 1. Dissuaded by his parents from enlisting in the army 
at the age of fourteen, he went to Sparta, N. Y., to learn 
the trade of clothmaking. The rude wooden machinery 
was driven by a rapid mill stream. 

Human life on the frontier, as his " Narrative" shows, 
was in competition with the wolf and manners were rough. 
The " boss " at Sparta failed to keep his contract. After a 
quarrel, young Fillmore filled his knapsack with bread and 
venison, shouldered his gun to keep off wild beasts and 
started eastward and homeward over Indian trails and Sulli- 
van's road of 1779. His frontier experiences, like those of 
Washington, whose greatest school was in the forest, were 
among the most profound, stirring and formative in all his 
life. Because of his own vicissitudes, including unjust 
treatment, he entertained to the end of his days a lively 
sympathy with servants, apprentices and all wage-earners. 

The Fillmore family at Sempronius included, in 1815, 
nine ; father, mother, five sons and two daughters. Millard 
became apprentice at New Hope to two cloth dressers. He 

1 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

worked iu the mill from June until December and gained a 
little schooling in winter. He bought a dictionary and 
began general reading. While attending to the carding 
machine, he put the dictionary on the desk, which he passed 
every two minutes in removing the rolls, and thus fixed 
in his memory the definition of many words. Teaching an 
elementary school, in which discipline was often maintained 
only by physical force, and attending a sawmill varied his 
occupation. Then in 1818, to visit some relatives in 
Buffalo — the town laid out as New Amsterdam — he tramped 
one hundred miles through the "blazed" forest. After 
enjoying the earthly paradise of the Genesee valley land- 
scape, he saw the blackened ashes of Buffalo village, as left 
by the British torch. Returning home on foot, he attended 
school, living at a farmer's house and chopping wood two 
days to pay for a week's board. Here he first saw a wall 
map and heard a sentence parsed. Here, best of all, he met 
and loved Abigail Powers. For eight years his sweetheart 
and for twenty-seven years his wife, this daughter of a 
Baptist minister moulded by her gracious charm as a help- 
mate, and thoroughly perennially sweet influence the man 
who never forgot to be a gentleman. 

At Millard Fillmore's birth our national government was 
but thirteen years old, and in his initial year, began its 
activities at Washington on the Potomac, then a village of 
three thousand people. Of the three large cities, the popu- 
lation of New York was sixty, of Philadelphia, forty, and 
of Boston twenty-five thousand. Yet the westward tide of 
emigration was rising. The Anglo-Saxon was marching on. 



CHAPTER II. 

Pioneer in Religious Freedom 

How the frontier lad passed into the profession of law, 
he tells in his " Narrative." 

His father, having removed to Montville, in Cayuga 
County, asked Judge Wood to take his son Millard into his 
office. One of the lad's first surprises here was to have 
" Blackstone's Commentaries," founded upon English law, 
put into his hands, when he wished to study the laws of 
New York, which are so largely based on Dutch law. 
Even the book of Blackstone, as a literary fabric, follows 
slavishly a Dutch author. 

Young Fillmore received little explanation or instruction 
while being used as errand boy. In his twentieth year, he 
paid his way by school teaching, reading law morning and 
evening. A disagreement — because the thrifty judge did 
not approve of the young man, under pecuniary pressure, 
earning three dollars gained in pleading before a justice 
of the peace — followed, and Millard Fillmore in August, 
1821, went west to join his father who had moved to East 
Aurora, near Buffalo, N. Y. Again a teacher of school, 
he attended suits before justices on Saturdays. In the 
spring of 1822. he settled in Buffalo for one year, to the 
spring of 1823, teaching and acting as clerk. Admitted to 
the Bar, he opened an office in East Aurora and practiced 
until May, 1830. He then removed to Buffalo, which was 
his home until death. His partner was Asa Clary. He 
was first elected to the New York Assembly in autumn of 
1828, and the rest of his life, as the final sentence in the 
Narrative states, " is a matter of public record." 

Mr. Fillmore's habit of elementary teaching was kept up, 
even after severing his school relations in 1826, but on a 
higher plane. P v or a number of years he had a class of 
law students in his office, and many were the alumni. 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

His pedigogical experience, both as cause and effect, gave 
Millard Fillmore a life-long interest in education, and 
especially in the public schools. 

Throughout his whole career, whether as representative 
in Congress or as plain citizen, lawmaker, or executive, he 
was ever a champion of free public education uncontami- 
uated by partisan politicians or ecclesiastics, besides taking 
a genuine interest in good teachers, text books and educa- 
tional methods. 

In 1823, Millard Fillmore built his house at East Aurora 
and three years later felt the time for mating had come. 
He and Abigail Powers were married in the Episcopal 
church edifice at Moravia, N. Y., February 5, 1826, by the 
rector, Rev. Orsanius H. Smith, the reception being at the 
house of her brother, Judge Powers. 

In her home at East Aurora, the bride did not like the 
flat Erie County scenery as well as she loved the glorious 
hills of the fair and beautiful Cayuga region. Yet this 
country girl, who had brought her books with her, was 
quite equal to the social demands of city life. Byron was 
then all the rage with the susceptible and appreciative 
lovers of poetry. When the old town of Erie was to be 
divided, the choice of a name for the older portion was left 
to her, and she at once suggested that of Newstead, from 
the name of the abbey near the poet's ancestral home. 

In 1828, the new Erie County had two districts and Mil- 
lard Fillmore and David Burt were chosen as their repre- 
sentatives in the New York Assembly at Albany. The 
former began his work as legislator in January, 1828, and 
was re-elected in 1830. From the first, Fillmore proved 
himself more of a statesman than a politician, being a 
maker of precedent and a leader of progress. With cease- 
less activity in the multifarious labors of organizing a 
frontier county he brought in the appliances of civilization 
and prepared the land for succeeding generations. 



PIONEER IN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM 

Two great measures, the abolition of imprisonment for 
debt and that of religious tests for witnesses in the Empire 
State, are to be credited to Millard Fillmore. The first, 
passed by the Assembly, April 2nd, 1831, amended and 
finally signed by the Governor, April 26th, was entitled 
" An Act to Abolish Imprisonment for Debt and to Punish 
Fraudulent Debtors." Covering eleven pages of print, the 
text was written by Mr. Fillmore, except the portions rela- 
tive to proceedings in Courts of Record, which were drawn 
by John C. Spencer. 

This Act made a year of jubilee to hundreds, if not 
thousands of released debtors in New York State, and the 
ransomed souls returned home in gladness. Happily this 
reform, in the interests of humanity, spread from New 
York to the other states, until it became universal in the 
Union. In our day few American citizens dream that their 
ancestors were once in prison for debt. Even Robert 
Morris, financier of the Revolution, suffered thus, to the 
shame of America and the grief of Washington. 

Fillmore followed to their logical conclusion the princi- 
ples laid down by the fathers of the Constitution, in follow- 
ing the example of the Dutch Republic, from which most 
of our national precedents are drawn. In a pamphlet of 
twelve pages, entitled " An Examination of the Question," 
he discussed the then vital theme, " Is it Right to Require 
any Religious Test as a Qualification to be a Witness in a 
Court of Justice ? " Later he brought in a bill, " In As- 
sembly, February, 1832," of which the following is the 
vital portion : 

I. No person shall be deemed incompetent as a witness in 
a court, matter or proceeding, on account of his or her re- 
ligious belief ; or for want of any religious belief ; nor shall 
any witness be questioned as to his or her religious belief ; 
nor shall any other testimony be received in relation thereto, 
either before or after such witnesses may be sworn." 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

The inconsistency of the old system, which made the 
validity of an oath dependent upon theoretical belief, is 
shown by picturing it in detail. Fillmore winds up his 
arguments by showing what frauds are practised under 
this rule of exclusion. For example, a person who knew 
all about a murder could get rid of testifying by giving out 
to some friend that he did not believe in a Deity, or future 
state of rewards and punishments. Such a case was not 
imaginary, but in the history of eastern New York was a 
reality. 

In our days of empire, when we are neither colonists nor 
provincials, but have on our soil many millions of men of 
various religions, some of these being older than Christiani- 
ty, but too venerable and genuine to be " false," we have 
adopted the wisdom of ancient Rome and of the Republic 
of the United Netherlands. We have proved how useful 
to the magistrates are those masses of inheritances, pre- 
judices, customs, and sanctions, which, collectively, are 
are called " religion," but are not ; — being simply symbols 
of its reality and the garments of its body. In twentieth 
century American courts, the breaking of a saucer, the 
cutting in half of a fowl by a Chinese, the swearing on the 
Koran by a man of Islam, or on the Pentateuch by an 
Israelite, the affirmation of the Friend, or the solemn word 
of the enlightened man, who, taking the command of 
Jesus seriously, refrains from an oath, the holding up of 
the first three fingers — whether to mean the initial letter of 
the Hebrew word for God, or as the sign of the Trinity — 
are all accepted as of equal value. It is perfectly well un- 
derstood that a pile of Bibles, or a stack of affidavits, can- 
not make a liar love the truth — all of which proves how 
steadily mankind has advanced in the ability to put 
difference between the sign and the substance, and to dis- 
cern between " religion " in name and its reality in life. 
The chief progress of mankind during the past four 

6 



PIONEER IN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM 

hundred years, has been in general education and freedom 
of conscience. In both of these Holland led Europe, as 
the United States now leads the world. 

All honor to Millard Fillmore as a pioneer of that religi- 
ous liberty, of which America is the best exponent and the 
van leader among the nations ! 



CHAPTER III. 
Early Politics in the Empire State. 

When Fillmore's public career began, the national parties 
were in process of formation. Like Caesar's Gaul, the 
Empire State was then divided into three parts — a narrow 
strip of territory, chiefly in the Hudson River Valley and 
lying on the old New Netherland ; the newer central region, 
settled later ; and a western half, only partially organized 
and consisting in the main of forest land. Pressing tasks 
lay before the settlers of its newest portion. Counties 
were to be marked out and named, highways by land and 
by water created, and links forged in the chain of communi- 
cation between the great West and the greatest sea-gate of 
the continent which lay at the Island of the States, or 
Staten Island. 

The first political parties in the young American Re- 
public were formed, of necessity, on the basis of economics. 
The North was to be manufacturing and commercial. The 
South was agricultural and likely to remain so. Any 
party, to be national, must be reared on the ground of trade 
and industry. Nevertheless, there would come to such a 
party danger of rupture, whenever a great ethical question 
presented itself. Could such a moral issue be isolated, it 
would act like new wine in old bottles and burst the vessel. 

The elements of such a national and economic union, to 
be called the Whig party, already existed in the third de- 
cade of the nineteenth century, and, by the cast of his 
mind, Millard Fillmore was sure to be associated with it. 
He began early to make the product of material wealth in 
State and Nation his serious and prolonged study. 

Yet even while Millard Fillmore was but a young lawyer 
just rising into public notice, one of these outbursts of the 
ethical sense caused disturbance of former party lines. 



EARL Y POLITICS IN THE EMPIRE ST A TE 

When Morgan was abducted and made to disappear from 
mortal view, humanity was outraged and the anti-Masonic 
feeling rose to high tide even in national politics. 

At that period of American history, there was a morbid 
dislike of all secret meetings. In the terrific reaction 
which followed the overthrow of King George's power in 
America, increasing in strength during the excitement 
created by the French Revolution, the fear of monarchy 
and aristocracy — both of which institutions secret fraterni- 
ties were supposed to foster — reached the point of alarm 
and even at times of panic. It is difficult in our day to 
understand how bitter was the suspicion, and how virulent 
was the hatred felt and manifested against all social forms 
that might compromise democracy. 

A century ago the clergy, the doctors and the lawyers 
formed almost three orders in American society. The 
" fourth estate " of journalism was not yet. The relations 
between rich and poor were as full of friction and strain as 
thev are now, for human nature has not changed. Any- 
thing that might appear to increase the power of the 
privileged was under suspicion and ban. Secrecy and the 
binding of men by oaths and mysteries seemed to savor of 
the pit. Even the Phi Beta Kappa Society of college 
graduates suffered malignant suspicion because of the 
general hatred of the occult in life. 

The National Republican Party, in August, 1828, took 
care to nominate State candidates who were not Free 
Masons ; while the Anti- Masonic State Convention, at 
Utica, a few days later, chose men pledged to oppose Free 
Masonry. At the polls, the latter secured over one-eighth 
of the vote of the State. By 1830, as opponents of the 
Democrats, they had displaced the National Republicans 
of New York, for General Jackson was a Free Mason. 
Anti-Free Masonry, as a polilical force, was extended into 
other States and in a short time Pennsylvania and Vermont 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

were in the column and Massachusetts and Ohio were 
moving in the same direction. 

What happened ultimately to this movement belongs to 
the common history of all American political parties which 
are not based on an interpretation of the Constitution. The 
extreme of opinion in one direction always alienates one 
portion to the opposite camp. Then, after a few years, the 
party disintegrates, its elements being absorbed by the two 
great parties which interpret the Constitution. The Con- 
servative and the Progressive principles, expressive of the 
dualism of nature, are the only ones that are permanent. 

Out of this anti- Masonic agitation in New York State, a 
brilliant group of young politicians arose and appeared, 
first in politics as anti-Masonic leaders. Three of them 
were William H. Seward, Thurlow Weed, and Millard 
Fillmore. With the last-named, anti-secrecy became an 
article of faith and an active principle throughout life. 
Opposed to any form of occultism and loving the daylight, 
Fillmore maintained consistently his moral convictions. 
Despite his connection, in later life, with the " Native 
American " party this is true, for though nominated by the 
" Know Nothings," the burden of his speeches is loyalty 
to the Union, as the dominant passion of his life. 

First meeting the young lawer at a convention held in 
Buffalo in 1828, Thurlow Weed, struck by the personal ap- 
pearance of Millard Fillmore saw in him a man of promise. 
The next year the famous editor suggested the rising lawyer 
for the Assembly, of which body both men, in 1830, were 
members, having already become warm personal friends. 

In February, 1830, the State Convention at Albany, de- 
cided to call a national anti-Masonic nominating convention, 
which met in September, 1840. The prospect for success 
seemed good. John Quincy Adams had lost control of the 
National Republicans, and although Henry Clay had de- 
veloped that amazing personal magnetism and popularity, 



EARLY POLITICS IN THE EMPIRE STATE " 

which almost made a distinctively Clay party, he was a 
Free Mason. To force the Kentuckian out of the field and 
to steal a march upon their enemies, the Anti- Masons met 
at Baltimore in September, 1831, before any other ptrty 
convention could be held, and nominated William Wirt of 
Maryland, and Amos Ellmaker of Pennsylvania as presi- 
dential candidates. At the election however, their candi- 
dates received the electoral vote of only one state, Vermoi t. 
The National Republicans nominated Clay, but lost the 
election. "Killed at the first fire," was the war- experience 
of the Anti-Masonic party, which, soon ending its career as 
a national organization, made way for the Whigs. J 

Erie County soon became large enough to set apart as a 
Congressional District and Mr. Fillmore was elected on an 
anti-Jackson ticket, as its first representative in Congress, 
taking his seat in Washington, D. C, Dec. 21, 1833, as one 
of the Opposition. After a short struggle, the President 
was master of the situation. 

That "Star Congress " which met in December, 1833, 
was rich in great men— Clay, Calhoun, Adams, Pierce, 
Choate, Cambreleng, McDuffie, Polk, Corwin, Ewing, Web- 
ster, Fillmore, and others. Of its members, five became 
presidents, five vice-presidents, eight secretaries of state, 
and twenty-five governors. 

Young America was now in council. Nearly all the 
statesmen of the Revolution had passed away. Old world 
questions had been left behind. A distinctly American 
order of politics, arising out of the crude forces of nation- 
ality, was looming up. There was no antiquity or any great 
desire to remember history. All was new and buoyant. 
The effect of the frontier states on our national life was felt 
and the new problems, ultimately solved in the Civil War, 
were emerging. 

Socially the era was interesting. Costume in that day 
was ultra-professional in marking social distinctions. Con- 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

gressmen were clothed, both as to mind and body, in clerical 
style. White necties, black satin socks and swallow tailed 
"dress" coats, made a group of senators, when standing 
together, look very much like " clergymen," and, forsooth, 
dignified senators illustrated the militancy of sacred corpo- 
rations that are not necessarily Christian in spirit. 

Petitions for the abolition of slavery began to come before 
Congress, and the debates thereon developed both men and 
their forensic powers. Many of the passages of eloquence, 
sibce so often reproduced by juvenile orators in declama- 
tion, were then delivered. What was once a local, almost 
a parochial ripple of opinion, was swelling into a national, 
ocean-like current of conviction. It had not yet been set- 
tled whether the treatment of the whole question of slavery 
was a matter for each State, or for the Nation. 

After routine activities and some forcible speeches on 
public finance, Mr. Fillmore, as a member of the Standing 
Committee on the District of Columbia, presented on Feb- 
ruary 1 6, 1835, a petition from the people of Rochester 
praying for the abolition of slavery in the District of 
Columbia. Henry Wise of Virginia, afterwards Governor, 
said " I put it to the gentleman from New York what re- 
spect should be paid to an incendiary document ? " 

Mr. Fillmore answered that "the people of New York 
were shocked at advertisements for runaway slaves." 

Archer of Virginia made a motion to lay the petition on 
the table. During the debate the stock arguments of the 
men in favor of involuntary servitude, were that their an- 
cestors had fixed slavery in the Constitution and that 
northern men had often gone south and become slave 
masters. 

Henry A. Wise and John Quincy Adams were the heroes 
of " rows " in Congress. 

The proceedings took on a comical air when Adams in- 
troduced a petition of twenty-two slaves against abolition, 



EARLY POLITICS IN THE EMPIRE STATE 

said petition being a hoax. Then Wise — the "Harry 
Percy of the House" — declared that if the discussion con- 
tinued, the seat of government would be moved west, or 
the District of Columbia retroverted to the States. 

In our day Governor Wise's son declared that " It was 

the short-sighted policy of southern members to 

allow Adams and the Abolitionists to pose as champions of 
a right as old as Magna Carta— the right of petition." 
John Quincy Adams, who was the incarnation of the cause 
he maintained, uttered in May, 1836, the prophetic warning, 
that if the South became the theatre of battle, the United 
States Government, in its war powers, could abolish slavery. 

Throughout this term of two years, his first experience 
in Congress, Mr. Fillmore, while in loyal sympathy with 
his party, did not attach to the idea of a National Bank the 
extreme importance which the whigs gave it. In this, as 
later history showed, he was an independent thinker and 
in advance of his party. He worked hard on committees 
and spoke when necessary, not to the galleries, but to pro- 
mote the business of the house. He gave earnest and 
persevering support to the internal improvement policy. 
In any legislation that affected the navigation of the Great 
Lakes, to which Buffalo, or Erie County, holds the key, he 
was especially vigilant and painstaking. The session ended 
June 10th, 1834. 

As early as 1832, Buffalo was large enough to become a 
city and a committee of sixteen, of which Mr. Fillmore 
was a member, drew up a municipal charter. The Legisla- 
ture gave its approval, April 20th, and henceforth the 
village was a municipality. In these active, strenuous 
days, Millard Fillmore gave his best powers to making 
Buffalo a bigger, better, and nobler city. Few indeed are 
the measures of improvement with which his name, during 
the forty-two years, from 1832 to 1874, is not connected. 

The year 1832 was also one of joy and hope, for it 

13 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

marked the birth of his only daughter, Mary Abigail. She 
came into his home four years after the advent of his son, 
Millard Powers. The law firm of Clary and Fillmore, 
which had existed since 1823, though with several changes, 
was dissolved and the new partnership of Fillmore and Hall 
formed. This continued under this name until January 
10th, 1836, when the partnership of Fillmore, Hall and 
Haven was made. Until nominated for Congress October 
4th, 1836, he was wholly occupied with his law practice. 
Judge Hall retired from the firm in May, 1839, Dut Mr. 
Fillmore and Mr. Haven continued together in active 
practice, until the autumn of 1847, when Mr. Fillmore was 
elected Comptroller of the State. 

Americans were getting ready to leave feudalism be- 
hind. Ethical questions were beginning to surmount those 
of purely economic or political interest. Although their 
representative had upheld in Congress the age-old right of 
petition by his vote, the Abolitionists of his district were 
not wholly sure of his opinions on human servitude. 
Within a fortnight after Mr. Fillmore's renomination to 
Congress, the Auti -Slavery Society of Erie County sub- 
mitted its catechism to the candidate. Mr. Fillmore replied 
in three-fold affirmative, but refused to be a machine 
politician, even for Abolitionists. 

This answer sounded the keynote of his whole career. 
He said, then and always, "I am opposed to giving any 
pledges that shall deprive me hereafter of all discretionary 
powers. ... If I stand pledged to a particular course 
of action, I cease to be a responsible agent, but I become a 
mere machine." 

Re-elected in 1838, and in 1840, Mr. Fillmore's record 
as a Congressman was a continuous one for six years. In 
all matters that could be referred to or regulated b}' that 
instrument, his sole guide was the Constitution of the 
United States. On June 5th, 1834, ^ e took part in the de- 

14 



EARL Y POLITICS IN THE EMPIRE STA TE 

bate regarding the territories of Michigan, Arkansas and 
Florida, especially in regard to the invasion of the public 
lands by squatters. Always alert on behalf of the Indian, 
he gave careful attention to the Western (or Indian) 
Territory, but the bill was lost. The territory in which 
the "civilized tribes" found a home, and out of which 
part of Kansas and Nebraska were taken and the great 
state of Oklahoma has been formed, was set apart as un- 
organized. Not until 1850, under President Fillmore's 
administration, were its inhabitants brought even to the 
notice of the census. Politically, the condition of the 
Indian was then as low as that of the Eta, or outcasts of 
Japan, before they were raised to citizenship, in 1869, by 
Mutsuhito the Great. 



[5 



CHAPTER IV. 
In Washington, Leader of the House 

During the administration of Martin Van Buren (1837- 
1841) a storm broke upon the country in the form of a 
financial panic. Too much paper money had led first to 
inflation, then to distrust, and finally to explosion and dis- 
tress. In the special session of Congress, called for Sep- 
tember 4, 1837, Mr. Fillmore spoke at length on the 
"Surplus Revenue," "Hoping," as he said, "to live to 
see the day when " the moral pestilence of political banks 
and banking shall be unknown." On Oct. 4th, with speech 
and vote, he opposed the issue of Treasury notes. 

International attention was suddenly turned to the waters 
of Erie County. During the Patriot War in Canada, de- 
vised by disloyal Englishmen and American sympathizers, 
a virtual invasion of the soil of the United States took 
place. A party of armed men from the Canadian shore 
fired on and boarded the American steamer Caroline on the 
night of December 29th, 1837. The boat was set afire and 
sent blazing down the current, not to " plunge over 
Niagara Falls," but to stick fast in the mud of one of the 
islands. 

Eater the responsibility of the affair was assumed by the 
British Government and Col. McNab, the instigator of the 
act, was knighted July 14th, 1838. Until 1900, when the 
better feeling now prevailing between the two English- 
speaking nations culminated in British sympathy with us 
in the war with Spain, American visitors in Eondon could 
see not only the captured stars and stripes of 181 2, but of 
1837 hanging as a trophy of this episode, so disgraceful to 
both parties. 

In the perspective of nearly four score years, one need 
not sympathize very heartily with the displays of rhetorical 

16 



IN WASHINGTON 



fireworks that took place along the northern border, in some 
other parts of the country and in Congress, in 1839, nor 
even agree with every statement then made by the member 
from Erie County. President Van Buren ignored the epi- 
sode, but Mr. Fillmore on January 12th, 1838, introduced 
a resolution as an amendment to a bill then under discus- 
sion, calling for information from and action of the chief 
executive. Throughout this long excitement of 1838-1839, 
when oratory, of a type peculiar to that era of our nation's 
growth, was flaming, Mr. Fillmore took a position at once 
patriotic and judicial. His plea was for the better protec- 
tion of the northern water frontier of the United States. 
He aimed to prevent an outbreak on the border and have 
the two governments come to some mutually beneficial un- 
derstanding. While other congressmen vapored and threat- 
ened, Mr. Fillmore plead for the defence of our northern 
frontier. "The best way to avoid a war with Great 
Britain," said he, " is to show that we are prepared to meet 
her, because reasonable preparations for defense are better 
than gasconading." 

On Dec. 21st, 1838, excitement having increased on the 
frontier, Mr. Fillmore offered a resolution calling for the 
correspondence between the two Governments. 

The President responded by sending to the house, on 
January 2, 1841, a special message with the correspondence. 
The report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs went be- 
yond the particular case of the Caroline and entered into a 
general arraignment of the British Government — much in 
the spirit of the later Sumner speech on "indirect dam- 
ages " of the " Alabama." 

Mr. Fillmore protested against this report, urging that 
it be not printed in so incendiary a form. His patriotism 
and courage were tempered with moderation and wisdom. 
" The true plan was to prepare for war if we had yet to 
come to it, but to do nothing in the way of bragging. . . . 



17 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Before we make a declaration of war . . . prepare for it." 
We all know how, in 1812, other incompetent and unready 
commanders made a scapegoat of the hero, General William 
Hull. Our country, from that series of inglorious land 
campaigns, had had enough of rushing to arms before making 
ready for it. In outline, we have a foreshadowing of Mr. 
Fillmore's foreign policy when he became president, fully 
equal as it was to Washington's in prudence, or to Grant's 
or Roosevelt's in firmness, or to Taft's or Wilson's in 
wisdom. 

Not content with words, Mr. Fillmore on Feb. 25th, 
1841, sought to have the Naval Bill Appropriation amended 
so as to provide for American duplication of British naval 
armaments on the lakes. This resolution being ruled 
" out of order," he appeared personally before the Navy 
Board in 1842, and urged that an armed steamer be con- 
structed at Buffalo to patrol the lakes. 

It eventuated that the iron man-of-war, Michigan, later 
named the Wolverine, was built, not at Buffalo, but at 
Pittsburg — few American cities having then the facilities 
for constructing iron vessels. Thousands came to witness 
the launch, most of them expecting to see it sink at once, 
because it was made of metal. This ship, now the oldest 
iron vessel in the world, had a unique history, from 1843 
until 1913. After a long career of peace, it acted as sentinel 
over imprisoned Confederates and as a defense against their 
attempted rescue. After our civil war, it became a de- 
porter and repatriater of Fenians. This last act was a sort 
of magnanimous tit-for-tat for McNab's invasion. 

The issue of the Caroline affair was creditable to both 
nations. The treaty which was made wrote a novel chapter 
in the world's history and created a precedent for the 
future, when war will be deemed barbarism. It dismantled 
every fort and dismounted every gun, American and 
British, along a frontier of three thousand miles, furnish- 

18 



IN WASHINGTON 

ing to the world a unique spectacle of two proud nations 
at permanent peace. The radical creed of militarism was 
given a severe blow, for the United States became " the 
Great Pacific Power," and the Land of Peaceful Frontiers. 
If mankind is governed by successful precedents, here is 
one to be followed for all time. 

Unexpectedly severe labors awaited Mr. Fillmore in the 
Twenty-Sixth Congress, beginning in December, 1839. 
Political parties in the House were so nearly balanced, that 
the acceptance or rejection of one state's representation 
would give one party or the other a majority. The 
Democrats demanded that the contested New Jersey election 
case involving the seating of five out of ten persons claim- 
ing to be members, should be decided previous to the 
election of a speaker. 

The Whigs, on the contrary, insisted that until the 
House was organized, the certificates of the Governor of 
New Jersey would suffice as credentials. "The Broad 
Seal War" is the name given to this episode, because the 
five Whig candidates had certificates of election under the 
broad seal of the State, while the Democratic candidates 
contested the election on the ground of a miscount in one 
county. 

Two weeks were consumed in ballotting and the dis- 
cussion ran on until the end of December. The case not 
being decided, the committee on elections, on which 
Millard Fillmore occupied a prominent place, became the 
most important of all. In the face of a hostile majority, 
both in the Committee and the House, after months of 
labor and investigation, he was prevented by partisan 
tactics from reading his minority report. 

Nothing daunted, Mr. Fillmore printed his plea for 
common justice as "an address to the whole country," in 
a sixteen page pamphlet with the title " Address and Sup- 
pressed Report of the Minority of the Committee of Election 

19 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

in the New Jersey Case Presented to the House of Repre- 
sentatives, March ioth, 1840, together with the remarks of 
Mr. Fillmore." 

Throughout this whole affair, his vigor and earnestness 
so won the admiration of the entire Whig party that, in 
the political reaction which followed, the voters of Erie 
County re-elected Mr. Fillmore, giving him the largest 
majority ever known in the district. He was now a man 
of national importance. In battling for the principle on 
which all representative government must ever rest, he had 
spared no sacrifice, and for this he was appreciated. 

The tariff formed the chief burden of business in Con- 
gress. The southern politicians threatened to nullify 
United States law and secede, if the imposts of 1828 were 
not repealed. Yet it was evident that Protection in some 
form was to be the settled policy of the nation. 

The Whig party met at Harrisburg, Pa., Dec. 4th, 1839, 
and without adopting any platform, nominated a military 
hero, General William Henry Harrison. After the " hard 
cider and log cabin campaign " followed, Harison was 
elected and on March 17th, 1841, called an extra session 
of Congress to consider the financial difficulties of the 
Government. At the Whig caucus, they having a majority 
of twenty-five over the Democrats, John White of Kentucky 
received the highest number of votes for Speaker of the 
House, and Millard Fillmore the second. In such a case, 
as was customary, Mr. Fillmore was later made chairman 
of the most important committee, that of Ways and Means. 

The chief questions before Congress were economic. 
Mr. Fillmore being an expert in finance, revenue and the 
needs of the growing nation, was now one of the hardest 
working members of Congress. When the House sat as a 
Committee of the Whole, on the Tariff Bill, June 9th, 
1842, he opened the debate in a speech which occupied 
several hours in its delivery. Of him, Mr. Richard W. 



IN WASHINGTON 

Thompson, of President Hayes's cabinet, wrote in after 
years : 

" With the highest qualifications, always in steady 
equipoise, Mr. Fillmore held the attention of all. The 
fine-spun theories of impassioned orators were exploded by 
his powerful and faultless logic. His style of oratory was 
wholly unlike that of Wise of Virginia. He spoke with 
mathematical directness. If he did not convince, he left 
no rankling wound. With voice strong, full and clear, he 
was heard with universal attention in every part of the 
house. ' ' Editor Nathan W. Sargent ( ' ' Oliver Oldschool ' ' ) 
says that Mr. Fillmore labored "day and night on com- 
plicated revenue bills, never discouraged by his frequent 
defeats and the blocking votes, but renewing his efforts at 
every set back, until finally the revenue acts of 1842 
crowned his efforts, and gave new life to the country." 

Thus~the tariff of 1842 was almost a new creation, in- 
volving a vast amount of labor and research, and Millard 
Fillmore is justly entitled to the authorship of it. 

During this session, Mr. Fillmore brought into operation a 
great safeguard against reckless and dishonest expenditure. 
He prepared a digest of all the laws of Congress which 
authorized appropriations, so that he could instantly re- 
produce his authority for what he recommended. He 
secured also the passage of a resolution which required 
each Department to make references to laws authorizing 
any expenditure when submitting estimates of expense. 
This has ever since been the practice of the Government. 

Altogether his Congressional experience in Washington 
was a pleasant one. When in the Presidential chair, Mr. 
Fillmore could heartily say -'amen" to the words of a 
fellow " Silver Grey," an ex-member of the House, who 
was revisiting ' ' A comrade in that happy and glorious 
Twenty-Seventh Congress, which was no less distinguished 
for its service to the nation than for the occasions it 
furnished to many warm and enduring friendships." 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Among those pleasantly remembered in after life was that 
with Spencer Jarnigan of Tennessee, an ardent Whig and 
friend of internal improvement under the auspices of the 
National Government. Elected to the State Senate in 
1833, and a Harrison elector for the state at large in 1840 
he was, in T843, chosen to the United States Senate, taking 
high rank as a brilliant orator and constitutional lawyer — a 
man after Fillmore's own heart, besides being a shining 
figure in the social life of the capital. He served until 1847, 
and when Taylor and Fillmore were named in 1849, no 
southern orator captivated audiences in favor of the Whig 
nominees more completely than Jarnigan. 

During " the forties," the city of Washington was a poor 
place whence to judge the United States. Here labor was 
degraded, slavery flaunted itself, the central government 
was weak and the behavior of members of Congress gave 
visitors a bad impression. The city still wore the air of 
some projected scheme which had failed. Most of the 
built-up portion was in the vicinity of the Capitol. Pigs 
and cows roamed freely over the town, lay asleep on the 
corners, chewed the cud, or rooted, according to their own 
sweet will and time, especially at the end spaces at the tri- 
angular meeting places of avenues. In 1840, the odor left 
in the rooms of hotels by servants who, without change of 
clothing, slept anywhere on the stairs, or in the passage 
ways, was at times insupportable. On January 14th, 1840, 
Mr. Fillmore wrote : ' ' People here know nothing of comfort 
in cold weather, their houses are all built for a southern 
summer, but by some mistake we have now got a northern 
winter." Nevertheless, Alexander R. Shepherd, the second 
founder of the city, whose statue now stands on a lofty 
pedestal, was already born. 

There were novelties also. The Antarctic curiosities 
brought by Captain Wilkes were accessible in the museums. 
" Destiny " was in the air and it seemed the purpose of the 



IN WASHINGTON 

American politicians "to rise on the ruins of the British 
Empire." In the shops, during these days of inflation and 
over abundant paper money, the "counterfeit detector," 
issued monthly, was a necessity on every counter. 

Congress then met in the chamber which later became 
the Supreme Court Room, and still later the law library in 
the basement of the Capitol. Though for fifty years there 
were threats of the dissolution of the Union, the vaulted 
arches resounded with the eloquence of Clay and Webster 
and the Union kept together. Whatever the orators might 
be in Congress, they were usually one in the fellowship of 
drink and good cheer. At the White House, in Tyler's 
time, there was a sideboard and everybody was expected to 
" take something" as a liquid souvenir of friendship. The 
term " Washingtonians " did not as yet connote teetotalism. 



23 



CHAPTER V. 
The Magnetic Telegraph. 

Mr. Fillmore's interest in the great discoveries of the age 
in which he lived was keen. He considered photography, 
the steam engine, and the electric telegraph the great 
wonders of the century. He helped mightily to translate 
the visions of Faraday, Henry, and Farmer into practical 
use. More than anyone else, he championed in Congress 
an appropriation of money to ensure success. Nevertheless, 
so oculted had the reputation of Millard Fillmore been, that 
in the latest biography of Morse, by his son (Boston, 19 14) 
the name of the great inventor's steadfast friend is not even 
mentioned. 

"Morse," said Fillmore, "made of lightning a mes- 
senger of intelligence which annihilated time and space. 
It brings all nations so near together that they can, as it 
were, hear each other speak." 

In later life, Professor Morse received so many tokens of 
the appreciation of the world at large that his breast, when 
decorated, was an epitome of that first American geography 
which his father had written, for there hung upon his coat 
tokens from almost every civilized ruler in the world. 
Though Morse did little or nothing electrical, he set the 
finial upon a great cathedral spire of investigation and 
experiment. Thousands of toilers had unconsciously shared 
in the work that was crowned by Morse. He entered into 
the labor of others, made the recording apparatus, com- 
pleting the long chain of " inventors " — from the primitive 
rubber of amber and the stroker of the cat's back. Joseph 
Henry translated the spark into force and set it free at a 
distance. Then transmitted energy came under the control 
of man, as shown in the ringing of a bell. Morse made the 
electric fire a telegraph, that is, a far-off writer, Alexander 
Graham Bell made it a talker from afar. 

24 



THE MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH 

Mr. Fillmore mourned that the fighters who destroy 
human life were honored even more than those who heal 
and help the race. Yet he was destined by Providence to 
assist in opening to the world an Oriental country in which, 
in our century, the physician is placed in the same line of 
promotion and given equal honor with the militarj^ com- 
mander. Though not reckoned among the nations as 
nominally Christian, Japan, a true pupil of the Anglo-Saxon 
peoples has carried out practical Christianity, leading all 
nations in the humane conduct of war. 

To Millard Fillmore, possibly more than to any other 
man, the world owes the successful inauguration of the ex- 
perimental telegraph between Baltimore and Washington, 
so far as the obtaining of money from the public funds to 
start it is concerned. In his own words he tells the story : 
"Some time, I think in 1838, Professor Morse exhibited 
in one of the committee rooms of the Capitol, at Washing- 
ton, what would probably now be deemed a rude model of 
his telegraph and among others, I went by invitation to see 
it ; but I gave it very little examination, and what he pro- 
posed to do seemed so miraculous that I had little faith in 
it. The power of the electric current at short distances 
was known, but the fact was not yet ascertained how far 
this power could be transmitted, and it was to settle this 
point he asked the aid of Congress, but for some reason no 
aid was given ; and the next that I heard was that he was 
in Europe, asking for aid to introduce his invention there." 
Morse evidently believed in Fillmore, for he called on 
him in New York when on his way to Congress in 1842, 
and requested him to go again and see his telegraph 
machine. Mr. Fillmore went and saw it in operation. 
From that time the Congressman had faith in the telegraph. 
When Congress opened, Morse appeared in Washington 
with his batteries and his thousand miles of wire, and set 
up his apparatus in one of the committee rooms. Mr. 

25 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Fillmore visited him and " became convinced that here was 
an invention that was destined to aid in the civilization and 
progress of the world." 

The bill to aid Morse in laying an experimental line 
from Baltimore to Washington was reported from the Com- 
mittee on Commerce. Mr. Morse occupied an anxious 
seat in the gallery of the Senate during the last day and 
evening of the session. Being assured that there was no 
possibility of a vote being reached that night, he came away 
and sought his bed to sleep the sleep of exhaustion. Yet 
the bill passed, despite sneers and ridicule. In the morning, 
a young woman, Miss Ellsworth, informed Morse that the 
bill had become law, her father being present in Congress 
at the close of the session. Overjoyed and grateful, Morse 
told her that she should send the initial message over the 
first line of telegraph that should be opened. 

When the time came, on May 24th, 1844, to turn flashes 
into letters, the mother of Miss Ellsworth suggested the 
message " What hath God wrought " ! Morse transmitted 
it to Baltimore and the operator there telegraphed it back 
to Washington. Mr. Fillmore testified concerning the bill 
" When it came up for consideration in the House, it was 
attacked by argument and ridicule, and finally passed by a 
very small majority. Some thought it a foolish expenditure 
of money upon a chimerical project, and others, by way of 
ridicule, proposed to add a sum to test experiments in 
mesmerism," etc. 

"I, however, advocated the bill, and though I could not 
say that the telegraph would do all its inventor had pre- 
dicted, nevertheless I thought it was possible, and even 
probable that it might, and if it would, I should regard it 
as a national blessing, and $30,000 was not much for the 
nation to pay on a contingency of this kind, and the bill 
was passed and became a law on the 3rd of March, 1843." 

The gateway of a new House Wonderful was now opened 

26 



THE MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH 

for all the world. Three days after the first message, the 
National Democratic Convention, sitting in Baltimore, 
nominated for President James K. Polk and for Vice-Presi- 
dent, Millard Fillmore's recent rival, Silas Wright, then in 
the United States Senate. The news of the nomination was 
immediately sent by telegraph from Baltimore to Mr. Morse, 
who showed the Senator the message. When Mr. Wright 
declined the nomination, Morse transmitted the news to the 
convention. Such rapidity of business was, however, too 
much for the members, whether from the backwoods or the 
cities. Unbelief held the upper hand. A committee was 
appointed to go to Washington to confer with Mr. Wright, 
and the Convention adjourned until confirmation was re- 
ceived. However, the telegraph had come to stay. It was 
more than a nine day's wonder, and became the general 
topic of conversation. 

In the line of the ancestry of the inventors of the tele- 
graph, the Americans, Moses Farmer and Joseph Henry 
should have the most honored places. In the line of those 
who nursed the invention to success, besides Morse, Vail, 
and Cornell, Millard Fillmore's place is secure. 

Nevertheless surprise and incredulity waited even upon 
demonstration. Many were the lectures, exhibitions, ex- 
periments, long journeys and anxious days and nights, 
which Ezra Cornell was yet to take before even so practical 
a people as the Americans were ready to stop their jesting 
and to believe, invest, and utilize what is now a daily, yes, 
an hourly necessity, and has given the world a new nervous 
system. 

In Washington, the "cavalier reign" of Tyler was suc- 
ceeded in the White House by the " Puritan austerity " of 
Mrs. Polk. The 4th of March, 1845, was a rainy day. 
The worst time of the year had been made the elect one for 
beginning a new government. Pennsylvania Avenue, then 
unpaved, was slippery with mud, and some of the marching 

27 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

soldiers fell down. On stormy inauguration days, like that 
of Polk's in 1845 and Taft's in 1909, and for a few hours 
later, the great American people think that the date should 
be changed ; but " as soon as their feet are dry, they forget 
all about it." 



28 



CHAPTER VI. 
Champion of American Principles. 

The problem of immigration is a hydra-headed one. It 
was as keen in Mr. Fillmore's day as in ours. ... It was 
not then a question of race or color, nor had Asia loomed 
up, either as a labor market or as a feeder of the American 
population. Yet it threatened a complication even worse — 
if not the curse of a state religion, at least a form of the 
union of Church and State, from which danger, by the war 
of independence, from Great Britain and from Europe, we 
had been delivered. 

The crisis, under Governor William H. Seward's ad- 
ministration, showed Millard Fillmore to be the unquailing 
champion of American ideas and principles. As the ques- 
tion of immigration still presses and, by the action of Cali- 
fornia in her land laws of 191 3, has shown how our national 
integrity, as embodied in the treaties as part of the supreme 
law of the land may be involved, we here sketch in brief 
the historical outlines of the subject. 

Immediately after the formation of our Government in 
1787, and until the war of 181 2, this nativistic idea domi- 
nated and divided the men of the two great parties. The 
feeling on this side of the Atlantic was aggravated by the 
French and British struggles of the Napoleonic era. Both 
American parties expressed anxiety to preserve neutrality, 
but the Federalists desired war with France and the 
Democratic-Republican party war against Great Britain. 
The immigrants of this era, being either United Irishmen, 
or men driven from home because of their hostility to the 
British Government, naturally took the Democratic view 
of things, while the Federalists became an anti-alien party. 
This alliance of the foreign emigrants with the Democratic 
party has been in the main kept up to the present day. 

29 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

In the history of naturalization, the first act, of 1790, 
made only two years's residence necessary, but in 1795 the 
time was increased to five years. Insistence on brevity or 
length of residence previous to naturalization now became 
an index of party policy. When the Federalists got into 
power, taking advantage of the war-fever against France, 
they passed the Alien and Sedition Laws and made fourteen 
years the period of necessary residence before naturaliza- 
tion. In the reaction of Jefferson's election, when the 
Democrats came into power, in 1800, they fixed the period 
of residence at five years. This meant a new stream of 
reinforcement for the Democratic party. Among those in 
Congress who voted for the declaration of war against Great 
Britain, in 1812, were six former members of the Society 
of United Irishmen. 

The matter came up afterwards in the Hartford Conven- 
tion, but after the peace of 1815 and " the era of good feel- 
ing," the opposition to aliens ceased. There was no resur- 
rection of nativism until 1835, in New York city, and again 
in 1843, when the victorious Democratic mayor gave many 
offices to foreign-born citizens. This added fuel to the fire 
and the Native American movement spread southward. 
In the Philadelphia riots, blood was shed and two Catholic 
churches were burned. 

Quite early in its municipal history, Buffalo was in favor 
with the immigrant Germans, and in a generation or so it 
had a notable proportion of people from the Fatherland, 
who brought their thrift, industry, and generally good 
neighborly qualities to the upbuilding of the city. In time, 
these people notably stimulated the popular musical and 
artistic taste, and enriched the facilities of culture. Mr. 
Fillmore usually distinguished in practice between Dutch 
and German. He did not employ the word "Dutch" 
when he meant "German," and did not speak of the 
Germans when he meant Netherlanders. He was, usually 

30 



CHAMPION OF AMERICAN PRINCIPIES 

at least, free from this abominable solecism of the uncul- 
tured American. 

Besides noting the increasing German immigration to 
this country and how prone the people from the Fatherland 
were to settle along the great thoroughfares from New York 
to Cincinnati, Mr. Fillmore had a high idea of their in- 
telligence and solid traits of character. They were ac- 
quiring the rights of suffrage by naturalization, yet there 
was no Whig newspaper between the Hudson and the Mis- 
sissippi. Resolving to have German journalism in Buffalo, 
he with other gentlemen secured the services of a capable 
and intelligent editor, and a Whig German newspaper was 
started which flourished for some years. 

This was Mr. Fillmore's first experience with any large 
numbers of immigrants from Europe. Yet, besides noticing 
the tendency of the newcomers from various countries to 
settle, even to congestion, in the large cities he was struck 
with the fact that they brought their old world notions with 
them. Nor would they easily relinquish them. Some 
wanted a virtual union of Church and State, at least in the 
matter of education. They would have the school fund 
divided so as to support their church schools, in which the 
particular dogmas and ritual of one form of religion was 
taught. When he saw politicians and statesmen uniting 
with priests to introduce this European idea into the United 
States, Mr. Fillmore, as a true American and a champion 
of freedom of conscience, took the alarm. 

It was during the decade, from 1835 to 1845, that the 
warm friendship of Mr. Fillmore and Mr. Seward began to 
cool. Poorly informed persons imagine that these partners 
in the degrading business of rewarding partisans with 
federal patronage quarreled solely on division of spoil, in 
1850. Previous, however, to any or all differences on the 
ethical and legal phases of slavery, or the alienation of feel- 
ing between President and Senator, because of appoint- 

31 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

ments to office, there was a still more serious matter, on 
which these two statesmen could never see eye to eye. 
From early boyhood, Fillmore held with profound convic- 
tion to the American idea in public education. He was not 
only stalwart in his ideal as to the complete separation of 
Church and State, but he insisted that sectarians should 
pay for their own pedagogics and propaganda. Money 
raised by taxation was not to be used for dogmatics. 

When Seward, elected as the first Whig Governor of 
New York in 1838, and re-elected in 1840, recommended 
division of the public funds in support of the sects in edu- 
cation, Fillmore was horrified. He was unalterably opposed 
to this. He believed in the public teaching of ethics, con- 
duct and duty, but not of " religion," so called. As organ- 
ized and supervised by men who make a living by teaching 
dogmas, the church may or may not promote lofty morals. 
Fillmore was always a native American of the stalwart type. 

Those who date the estrangement of these two statesmen 
from the beginning of the Taylor administration look only 
on the surface, or to the occasion rather than to the cause. 
Something deeper than the distribution of official patronage, 
even a loyal adherence to a fundamental American principle, 
very creditable to Fillmore, separated these patriots. In 
this, Fillmore was nearer to the mind of the fathers of the 
Constitution than was Seward. He had no antipathy to 
men because they were aliens, but he prized American lib- 
erty and the privileges of the republic too highly to believe 
that foreigners could at once appreciate them, or that they 
should be prematurely allowed to receive or exercise the 
highest of these at once. 

On the matter of race-hatred, Mr. Fillmore's record is a 
noble one. His personal relations with the negro were most 
kindly. He believed in absolute truth and justice to the 
black man and to slaves — subject to the Constitution, which 
from him received unquestioning obedience and loyalty to 
both the spirit and the letter. 



CHAMPION OF AMERICAN PRINCIPLES 

In 1844, Millard Fillmore was nominated by the Whigs 
for the Governorship of the State of New York, against 
Silas Wright. He would almost to a certainty have been 
elected, but for the unfortunate pro-slavery letter which 
Mr. Clay wrote to a friend. He penned the missive, think- 
ing that it would not see the light until after election, but 
it became public before he knew it. Henry Clay thus 
helped the Abolitionists in many New York counties, so 
that Alvin Stewart, their candidate, got 15,000 votes. 

Until Clay's indiscretion, many voters did not care 
whether Texas came in with, or without slavery. Fond 
partisans sang with confidence, — 

"The country's risin' 

For Clay and Frelinghuysen," 

but enough voters declined to rise. Still undaunted,' Henry 
Clay remained in politics ; but Mr. Frelinghuysen turned 
his activities to education, and was long the honored Presi- 
dent of Rutgers College. Like Mr. Taft he became the 
teaching statesman. 

In 1846, for the first time, the comptroller of New York 
State was elected by the people, and Millard Fillmore was 
chosen. There was little pecuniary allurement to one who 
had always plenty of lucrative cases on hand, with an in- 
come of $10,000 a year ; for the salary was then but $2,500. 

Mr. Filmore came into his new position as a man ideally 
qualified by character, temperament, habits, and experience. 
He was above all cautious, withal industrious and fond of 
work. He had the health and mental vigor to match his 
complicated task and a natural aptitude for financial affairs, 
besides notable experience in Congress, to say nothing of 
his love for the Commonwealth in which he had been born 
and bred. 

Being soon called into national service, Mr. Fillmore had 
only time to write one official report. He began the duties 
of his office Jan. 1st, 1S48, was nominated for Vice Presi- 

3 33 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

dent in June and was elected in November. He resigned 
his office as Comptroller on February 20th, 1849, having 
served not quite fourteen months. 

Unalterably opposed, as he was, to the Bank of the United 
States, Mr. Fillmore proposed a method based on the bonds 
of the National Government. In a word, he anticipated 
our national banking system which, since the war between 
the States, has given stability to our finances. During a 
period of unparalleled growth, such steadiness would not 
have been possible under old methods. In this twentieth 
century, when we have seen our twenty thousand banks, 
two thousand millions of hard and nine hundred millions of 
paper dollars, and a three billion dollar currency, we may 
well be thankful that so cautious a financier as Millard 
Fillmore held this high office and pointed out a better way. 

Mr. Fillmore's resignation was to take effect on the 20th 
of Februar}', 1849, so that his successor could be in Albany 
before he should have reached Washington. 

One of the last acts of President Polk was to invite 
Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore to dine with him in 
the White House, which they did. "The King is dead. 
Long live the King ! " Thus peacefully and with true 
courtesy, one administration made way for another. 



34 



CHAPTER VII. 

Parties and Politics in 1 848. 

The questions of the extension of slavery and its logical 
sequence, the Mexican War, had been raised for the express 
purpose, it seemed to some, of wrecking the Whig party. 
Politics were made sectional by drawing a line between 
voluntary and slave labor. Calhoun, ouce an ally, loomed 
up as the arch- marplot. For years he had been scheming 
to dissolve the fragile bond uniting Northern and Southern 
Whigs in a national party. His "Texas question," pre- 
lude to the strife with Mexico, created the fissure. The 
crafty enemies of the W T higs wanted them to vote against 
hostilities, in order to array the two sectional elements of 
the party against one another. A vote against the war was 
more dangerous to a Southern than to a Northern Whig. 
Nevertheless, when it was declared that war had arisen by 
the act of the Republic of Mexico, the Whigs voted steadily 
for supplies, on the principle that the army once thrust 
into danger must be supported. This sort of craft still 
flourishes, as the favorite trick of politicians and contractors. 

Again the Whig armor was penetrated, when, after peace, 
the Wilmot Proviso was introduced. This prohibited slavery 
in the new territory ceded from Mexico. Month by month, 
as the question was debated in Congress, the Democrats, 
presenting a solid front of opposition, drove all advocates of 
the Proviso out of their organization. The Whigs were 
thus so disastrously affected that a "reorganization of 
parties" was talked of. As usual, New York was the 
storm center and soon the crisis was precipitated. All at- 
tempts to stifle discussion or to postpone action were in 
vain. It was now clearly seen that Seward and Fillmore, 
who had long before diverged in opinion, on the school 
fund, were at the parting of the ways. The latter was 

35 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

rigidly conservative in mind and a strict constructionist of 
the Constitution, while William H. Seward was a bold 
interpreter and fearless progressive. The latter had a 
prophetic eye. Fillmore saw only the Constitution. The 
two antagonists were soon to become open enemies. 

On the 27th of September, 1848, in the convention at 
Syracuse, an anti-slavery resolution, which also favored 
Mr. Seward, was carried by a vote of 76 to 40. At once, 
the Chairman of the Convention, Mr. Granger, threw down 
his gavel and with his delegates left the hall. Among these 
bolting delegates were several prominent men who had gray 
hair. Thereafter this " Fillmore wing" of the party was 
called "The Silver Greys." "For this cause," said Mr. 
Granger, ' ' I shall fight as long as I live, nor do I ask any 
higher post than to be a private in the ranks of the Silver 
Greys." 

Henceforth there were two visible factions in the Whig 
party. The one led by Seward, dominated the councils of 
President Zachary Taylor. The other, headed by Fillmore, 
was advised, with power, by Daniel Webster. Fillmore was 
influenced though far from overcome, or even overshadowed, 
by that remarkable personality. With such factors, na- 
tional and personal at work, — the slavery question and the 
division of spoils — low temperature in the relations between 
the President and the Vice-President and the satellites arid 
followers of each, speedily developed. Nevertheless, this 
interplay of radicals and conservatives kept the pace of the 
nation toward war from being too rapid. 

No sort of riches is more deceitful than those gained, or 
supposed to be gained by war, and the American people 
were again to be deluded. As the end of Polk's adminis- 
tration drew near, the excitable American people, carried 
away as usual by the dangerous enthusiasm of a successful 
war, clamored for a military candidate. The Democrats, 
having purged their party of upholders of the Wilmot Pro- 

36 



PARTIES AND POLITICS IN 184S 

viso, now sufficiently homogeneous, defied all danger from 
the slavery question. The Whigs, however, were driven 
to seek a standard bearer, who should, by his having 
touched the popular heart, conceal their own lack of unity. 
Such a figure-head was Zachary Taylor. Having spent 
nearly all of his life in military duty on the frontier, and as 
it was said, having never voted, he was densely ignorant of 
civil administration, and on many delicate questions of gov- 
ernment as guileless as a lamb. Yet these very defects, in 
his case, helped both his nomination and election. Since 
he disliked to use the veto power, he was very popular in 
the North. The owner of three hundred slaves, he was 
acceptable at the South. Before the whole country, he 
professed to be a " people's candidate." 

In Philadelphia, on the 24th of February, 1847, Henry 
Clay held a reception which eclipsed in popular enthusiasm 
even the reception of Lafayette in 1824. At least five 
thousand women swelled the throng that wafted the incense 
of joyous appreciation to the captivating man who, in the 
Quaker city, had broken all records of popularity. Clay 
fully expected the nomination. 

Thurlow Weed and Millard Fillmore had thought first of 
Abbott Lawrence, of Massachusetts ; who had been with 
Fillmore in Congress, for the vice-presidency, and they two 
conferred with this gentleman at the Astor House. But in 
the November Convention, it was clear that Clay's friends 
were violently against the idea of a New England man for 
vice-president, declaring that they would "not have cotton 
at both ends of the ticket." Mr. Lawrence was a dry 
goods merchant and a prominent manufacturer of cotton 
goods. He was also one of the founders of the city of mills 
on the Merrimac, one of the largest of its sort in the world, 
and which bears his name. In the colloquial, Clay's friends 
' ' refused to cotton to its maker. ' ' 

Mr. Seward was not named as vice-president, because he 

37 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

could not secure ' ' the American vote, ' ' he having offended 
tens of thousands of voters by recommending a division of 
the school fund for sectarian teaching. 

The managers of the convention, which met at Phila- 
delphia in the old Chinese Museum, on June 7th, 1848, de- 
cided that the claims and necessities of " availability " were 
greater than those of popularity, and on the second day and 
fourth ballot, Taylor received 171 votes to 107 for all others. 

After Taylor's nomination by the Philadelphia conven- 
tion, there was a stormy recess. A caucus was held and 
Mr. Kenneth Raynor of North Carolina, afterwards Solici- 
tor of the Treasury under President Garfield, came' within 
one vote of nomination. When the convention reassembled, 
Mr. John A. Collier of New York, a former fellow member 
in Congress and predecessor in the Comptrollership of Mr. 
Fillmore, made a conciliatory speech. He portrayed the 
sorrow and disappointment of the friends of Mr. Clay, but 
said"also that he rose with a peace offering, which would go 
far to reconcile the friends and prevent a breach in the 
party. He then appealed for a unanimous response to 
the nomination, which he made, of Millard Fillmore for 
the vice-presidency ! This coup d'etat was successful, 
and the friends of Abbott Lawrence approved. 

From that day to the election, Thurlow Weed and Millard 
Fillmore were constantly together. 

Two dreadfully disappointed men were Clay, now over 
sevent}' years of age, and Webster, who was sixty-five. 
Their chagrin was pitiful to behold. Yet the spirit of 
Webster rose with defeat. 

Called from the army to the chief office in the gift of the 
nation, Taylor was densely ignorant of the details of civil 
procedure. Until informed to the contrary by Mr. J. J. 
Crittenden, he supposed that the vice-president was ex officio 
a member of the Executive Council. On the discovery of 
this fact, Taylor, in a letter to Mr. Fillmore, expressed his 

38 



PARTIES AND POLITICS IN 1848 

regret that he was not to enjoy his presence in the Cabinet. 
Nevertheless he should rely upon his experience and ask 
his views on all great questions. 

Zachary Taylor was sixty-four years old and in some re- 
spects the least competent candidate for the presidency 
known in the country's history. Apart from dispensing 
the spoils of office, the ex-army officer, now President, was 
on trial as to his statesmanship, In American history the 
failures of military men, when put into the Presidential 
chair, outstand like great landmarks of warning. Such 
presidents have been either " heroes " in civil life, or they 
were safe because nonentities. They were very apt to be 
like the Duke of Wellington, "who had no great faith in 
the progress of humanity, no lively feeling of the strength 
and majesty of moral powers." 

Furthermore, all the new questions, whether railroad, 
canal, public lands, or what not, were in 1850 made white 
hot in the electric current of the slavery question. The 
most harmless matter became a red rag in the eyes of men 
who were insane on the question of perpetuating African 
servitude. Nevertheless, seeing clearly the bold headlands 
of national destiny, President Taylor rose to the occasion. 
In a time of partisan heat and seditional dangers, he might 
have been, except for his untimely decease, a mighty maker 
of American history. 

"Geography is half" of what Sherman called "hell", 
but the attempt to extend the area of human servitude 
made it the whole of war in the United States* In its 
rampancy, slavery was striving to be national, but " Mexico 
was avenged on her spoiler " , for the acquisition of Texas 
reopened the fatal controversy between slavery and freedom, 
which the Missouri Compromise had put to sleep in Con- 
gress for thirty years. Nevertheless Taylor faced his task 
honestly. He thwarted Calhoun's plans and guarded the 
territories against Mexico. He handled with firmness the 

39 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

dangerous controversy between Texas and New Mexico, 
of state right and national suprenac)' which Mr. Fillmore 
finally settled. He encouraged whaling in the Pacific 
Ocean, and was broad minded and far seeing as to Hawaii. 
During his administration three territories were organized. 

Within the Executive Mansion, President Taylor's life 
was free from smart and care. Mrs. Henry L,. Scott, his 
niece, then considered the handsomest woman in Washing- 
ton, presided "with the artlessness of a rustic belle and the 
grace of a duchess", dispensing a noble hospitality. In 
the White House gas was introduced and the rooms were 
brightened with new furniture and carpets. As for the 
President, he was a popular citizen, and was noted for his 
regular walks in Washington. 

There was as yet no serious external political difference 
between Fillmore and Seward ; but, in the division of the 
spoil, there is always danger from adherents and camp fol- 
lowers. Senator Seward and the Vice-President elect dined 
with Thurlow Weed at Albany on their way to Washington. 



40 



CHAPTER VIII. 
Vice-President. Assertion of Nationalism. 

Millard Fillmore was vice-president of the United States 
at the beginning of the last decade of the first era of the 
Nation and Government. A Whig, he faced a Democratic 
majority in the Senate, which met March 3, 1849. 

Howell Cobb, of Georgia, was made Speaker of the 
House, in which there was no party majority, the Free 
Soilers holding the balance of power. 

The winter of 1849- '50 was one of fierce agitation. The 
debates were prolonged during nine months, or 273 days, 
with many night sessions, continuing to the end of the 
summer. The heat of controversy kept pace with that of 
the weather. "The question of California was splitting 
the nation." Its admission as a free state meant the break- 
ing of " the balance of power " between the free and slave 
states. Within a few days, after Henry Clay had intro- 
duced his Compromise Measure, on February 13, 1850, this 
commonwealth on the Pacific coast made application for 
admission as a state, but not until autumn opened did Clay's 
separate bills become law. On September 9th, 1850, Cali- 
fornia was made a State in the Union, and three weeks 
later Congress adjourned. 

During this historic session, much like that of 1914, 
tendencies and personages, typical of their time and in a 
sense culminations of the old, were nearing their acme, to 
pass away forever. 

In his book entitled "The War Between the States," 
Alexander H. Stephens gives a brilliant description of the 
United States Senate, full as it was of rising, risen, and 
setting suns. He speaks of it as " that grandest intellectual 
constellation— moral qualities and all considered — which 
was ever beheld in the political firmament of this or any 

41 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

other country The crowning halo was imparted 

by Millard Fillmore, who presided over the whole as Vice- 
President of the United States. He was of most imper- 
turbable temper and of a personal appearance in every wa)' 
impressive. There was dignity in the head of the ambassa- 
dors of the States in Grand Council assembled, which fully 
accorded with all the surroundings. Order and decorum, 
with all the proprieties which should govern high debate, 
were stamped on his brow. Of him, taken together, it 
might be said with as much truth as of any other public 
character I ever met with, ' there indeed is a man, in whom 
there is no guile.'" Stephens' eulogy of Fillmore reads 
almost like the Japanese proverb, " The gods have their 
throne on the brow of a just man." 

In the very prime of life, Mr. Fillmore, his hair not yet 
silvered, standing six feet high and of fine presence, made 
a striking figure among great men. He had resolved to be 
not a nominal but a real moderator of the Senate, and he 
said so at the time. He would follow the rule of rigid fair- 
ness and perfect courtesy. 

In his brief opening address, of about five hundred words, 
to the Senate, March 4th, 1849, he said : 

" Senators : Never having been honored with a seat on 
this floor, and never having acted as the presiding officer of 
any legislative body, you w T ill not doubt my sincer^, when 
I assure you that I assume the responsible duties of this 
chair with a conscious want of experience and a just appre- 
ciation that I shall often need your friendly suggestions, 
and more often your indulgent forbearance." 

He compared " the peaceful changes of chief magistrate 
of this Republic with the recent sanguinarj^ revolutions in 
Europe." Instead of the voice of the people being heard 
only "amid the din of arms and the horrors of domestic 

conflicts the resistless will of the nation has from 

time to time been peaceably expressed by the free voice of 

42 



ASSERTION OF NATIONALISM 

the people, and all have bowed in obedient submission to 
their decree. The Administration which but yesterday 
wielded the destinies of this great nation, to-day quietly 
yields up its power and without a murmur retires from the 
Capital." With such " cheering evidences of our capacity 
for self-government," said he, "let us hope that the sub- 
lime spectacle we now witness may be repeated as often as 
the people shall desire a change of rulers, and that this 
venerated Constitution and this glorious Union may endure 
forever." 

Mr. Fillmore set himself to understand fully his duties, 
not only in their practical aspect, but also in the light of 
their historical origin. As usual, he made a thorough 
study of the subject. The result was his remarkable ad- 
dress to the Senate of April 3rd, 1850, over a year after his 
induction in office, on the preservation of order in that 
body. 

John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, the American Barne- 
veldt and incarnation of the extreme doctrines of State 
Right, had, when Vice President, in 1826, made a decision 
in the Senate, that clearly revealed his own theories of 
government. To his mind, the Constitution was a tem- 
porary compact between States particular, once thirteen in 
number, to be dissolved at the will of the individual states 
— one, few, or many making the dissolution. Hence the 
Senate was, in his view, only the American States-General, 
the gathering of the envoys of the States particular, or 
political units, represented in the deliberative body. He 
therefore, in 1826, as Vice-President, officially declared 
" that in his opinion he had no authority to call a Senator 
to order for words spoken in debate." 

In other words, the executive power of the nation was so 
subordinate to the legislative, that the Vice-President must 
simply act as a sort of moderator, as the second servant of 
the American States-General, and not as the living voice 

43 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

of a nation that was greater than its component parts. 
Against such a notion, the soul of Fillmore, the American, 
loyal not only to the Constitution and the Union but to the 
nation, revolted. He believed in the indissoluble union of 
indestructible states and that the people of all the states 
were a nation, whose body was greater than its members. 

In the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the functions 
and proper form of address to be given to the Vice-Presi- 
dent had been much discussed. The titles of the English 
kings, "Sire," "Dread Sir," "Defender of the Faith," 
" Most Exalted Majesty ", etc., were noted and pondered. 
The ultimate settlement of the question depended upon the 
status of the President. 

Was the President of the United States a Stadholder, 
that is, a lieutenant, or power : holder for the nation, or was 
he a king, who has power in himself alone? When it was 
suggested that the President's title should be " His Excel- 
lency", Mr. Benjamin Franklin said, "In that case, I 
suppose the Vice-President ought to be called ' His Most 
Superfluous Highness' ". To this status, the view of Cal- 
houn would reduce the Vice-President of the United States. 

In the view of "practical" politicians, especially since 
the era of nominating conventions, Vice-Presidents are 
"products of the political bargain-counter". Neverthe- 
less, Millard Fillmore made himself more than this. He 
was certainly an educator of the Senate. 

Notabty different, in numbers, was the Senate of 1849, as 
compared with its first session in New York in 1789, over 
which John Adams presided. The thirteen states had be- 
come thirty and the number of members had increased from 
twenty-six to sixty. As Mr. Fillmore said, "Many little 
irregularities may be tolerated in a small body, that would 
cause disorder in a large one. ... A practice seems to 
have grown up of interrupting a Senator when speaking, 
by addressing him directly, instead of addressing the Chair, 
as required by the rule. ' ' 

44 



ASSERTION OF NATIONALISM 

" One of the first acts of this body in 1789, was to ap- 
point a committee to prepare a system of rules for conduct- 
ing business in the Senate. . . . That Committee reported 
a number of rules, which were adopted, and among the 
rest" was one which required that "every question of 
order shall be decided by the President, without debate." 

" These rules remained the same until 1828 ", when they 
were amended and after a long and interesting debate, "the 
amendment was finally agreed to by a vote of more than 
two to one", which, in the language of Mr. Calhoun him- 
self, " as to the power conferred upon the Chair" did, as 
Mr. Fillmore declared, recognize "the power to call to 
order in the Vice-President." In the House of Representa- 
tives, the twenty-second rule of that body declares that : 

" If any member .... in speaking or otherwise, trans- 
gresses the rules of the House, the Speaker shall or any 
member may call to order ", etc. 

The italics and all the sentences in quotation marks, ex- 
cept the text of the rules, are Mr. Fillmore's, as given in 
his address to the Senate, April 3rd, 1850. He further 
quoted from Jefferson's Manual, " which," said he, "seems 
to be a code of common law for the regulation of all parli- 
mentary bodies in this country ", to reinforce his position. 
He concluded by saying, "As presiding officer of the 
Senate, I feel that my duty consists in executing its will, 
as declared by its rules and by its practice." 

In a word, Millard Fillmore reversed the rule of John C. 
Calhoun. His address, notable in the history of the nation's 
highest legislative body, delivered with Mr. Fillmore's usual 
and characteristic urbanity, made a profound impression. 
It was a clear recognition that the Senate of the United 
States, so far from being merely a States-General, or the 
deliberative body of a League of Thirteen States, was the 
servant of a sovereign nation, and greater than the States 
themselves. To Mr. Fillmore, the Union and the Nation 

45 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

were more than a name. Instead of a figure of speech, the 
term "United States" stood for an indestructible reality. 

No action was taken by the Senate, except to order the 
Vice-President's remarks entered on the Journal and 
printed. Their immediate effect, however, was to check 
certain disorderly tendencies in the Senate and to secure 
more scrupulous observances of the rules of order and 
courtesy. 

Outside the Senate Chamber, in which he was absolutely 
impartial, the vice-president had little influence and no 
power. By Seward and Weed he was treated with marked 
contempt and the Taylor administration gave him the cold 
shoulder. No favors he had asked had been granted. The 
appointment of two personal friends at Buffalo was denied 
him and their places given to Seward's partisans, or anti- 
Fillmore Whigs. 

The Senate's presiding officer, from New York, "raised 
in the backwoods," contrasted in both his language and 
demeanor with those of most Congressmen new to their 
position. Ante-bellum rhetoric was lurid and legislative 
manners were often barbarous. One can hardly help 
comparing the deportment of this epoch with that of the 
first four or five presidents, as most of these attended the 
little Fredericksburg School, and were drilled in the great 
Jesuit, Leonard Perin's Rules of Behavior, as we have 
shown in "Belgium, the L,and of Art." Congressmen 
went to their work armed for a possible altercation. One 
episode, between Foote of Mississippi and Benton of Mis- 
souri, is famous. The aftermath, in publication — Benton's 
big book, with its " retort of silence " about the Mississip- 
pian, and Foote's little book, unfavorably criticizing the man 
from Missouri, are less known. It is uncertain whether 
Foote's pistol was loaded. 

In the Senate it was common to have wine on the desk 
of Senators, and all have heard of the famous "Hole in the 

46 



ASSERTION OF NATIONALISM 

Wall," where strong liquors, always ready, were served. 
The use of intoxicating liquor was still more common in 
the House, and the scenes of drunkenness and disorder, on 
the last night of the session of 1849, beggar description. 
There was a great supply of whiskey on hand and several 
members were carried out drunk and unfit for business. 

In the old Senate Room of 1849, presided over by Millard 
Fillmore, was gathered a body of gentlemen clad in sombre 
broadcloth, who wore tall silk hats, used quill pens and 
sanded the wet ink on their sheets of writing paper. These 
were the days of black satin socks, of side whiskers, and of 
hair cut in one style for the upper, and in another, with 
"soap locks," for the lower grade. "Stand-up" and 
sharp-cut collars, with affluence of ribbons for eye-glasses, 
or time pieces in fobs, with watch-guards and seals, were 
common. 

For warmth in winter, grate fires of hickory wood gave 
out a caloric glow radiating but a few feet, though in winter 
reinforcement was made by Franklin stoves burning anthra- 
cite. On cold days, Senators, leaving their seats, backed 
up to the grate and, lifting their coat tails, stimulated circu- 
lation, or, more directly, with hands and feet stretched out, 
warmed their extremities. If they were obliged to keep 
at their desks in freezing weather, they wrapped themselves 
from head to foot in their long woolen shawls, then so fash- 
ionable. These were fastened at the neck with safety pins, 
four or five inches long. Snuff-taking was so common that, 
besides two well filled boxes kept on the presiding officer's 
desk, several of the twelve pages were kept busy in respond- 
ing to senatorial demands for this nasal stimulant. Some 
very famous men were so addicted to the use of snuff that 
they could not speak well, without frequent dips into their 
boxes. For more fiery piquancy, the Hole in the Wall — a 
little room with bar and restaurant — sufficed often, but too 
well. 

47 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Nevertheless, there was, on the whole, rather an excess 
of dignity in some things. Many of the Senators were 
grave, even to austerity. All visitors must take off their 
hats and a monitor was employed to warn all comers to un- 
cover. There was no telegraph office in the building, and 
as Senators had no secretaries, most of them remained after 
adjournment to pen their correspondence, leaving the seal- 
ing and mailing to be done by the boys who acted as pages. 

Almost startling in memory seems the contrast of the 
style of oratory then in vogue, which was certainly as effec- 
tive as it was enjoyed. Even the average discussion was 
then wholly different from the business-like procedure, and, 
in general, the commonplace talk of those mercantile poli- 
ticians of to-day who imagine themselves statesmen, or of 
Senators, representing trusts and corporations, rather than 
commonwealths. The old flights of eloquence, in attack 
and defense, and in the assertion of great principles, have 
made for us a storehouse of classic oratory, in which the 
names of the nation-builders shine as stars forever. 



48 



CHAPTER IX. 
Union the Supreme Issue. 

Whatever men said or thought of the intellectual giants, 
Calhoun, Cla3 T , and Webster, in the days of their life on 
earth, we see very clearly now, that they were true to their 
convictions and record, and so was Millard Fillmore. 

With three of these men, slavery or its abolition was a 
secondary matter. As was Lincoln's, so, equally was 
theirs. The maintenance of the union of the states was 
their hope and to this end they toiled, each in unbending 
devotion. 

To judge of them in any other light than that of purity 
of motive seems an outrage on their memory. Clay and 
Fillmore lived up to their records as well as to their light. 
Webster did the same. To appraise rightly , or to interpret 
fairly his famous speech of March 7th, 1850, one must 
know Webster's unswerving purpose and attitude, as re- 
vealed in 3'ears previous, during a whole generation. When 
he replied to Hayne, as he, twenty years later, replied to 
Calhoun, his purpose and outlook were one and the same. 
He had no more respect for sectionalism north than section- 
alism south. He believed slavery would soon die its own 
death, yet it was neither of this issue, nor of the presi- 
dential candidacy, that he was thinking so much, as of 
answering the political disunion theories of Calhoun. 

He who reads and ponders this speech, of May 7, 1850, 
instead of swallowing tradition in a lump and then reviling 
a great patriot, he who studies the circumstances of the 
day and hour, rather than Whittier's poem " Ichabod", the 
diatribes of his enemies, or the contemporaneous rhetoric 
concerning the alleged "fall of an archangel", sees at 
once a passionate and convincing plea for the Union. It 
was that speech, more than any other one element in the 

4 49 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

conflict of sentiment and confusion of interests, that in 
1 86 1 held the border states true to the flag of the stripes 
and stars, thus securing the ultimate doom of secession. 
No other piece of literature was so effective in moving tens 
of thousands of young men to enlist in the armies of the 
Union. 

Miss Frederika Bremer, of Sweden, then visiting Wash- 
ington, paints in vivid words the scene on March 7th, 1850, 
when, after a tedious pro-slavery speech, "a thrill, as if 
from a noiseless electric shock, passed through the as- 
sembly ; a number of fresh persons entered the principal 
doors, and at once Daniel Webster was seen to stand. . . A 
stillness as of death reigned in the house and all eyes were 
fixed on Webster." She said "nobody is as wise as 
Webster looks, not even Mr. Webster himself ' ' , with his 
arched forehead and deep-set eyes which seemed "cata- 
combs of ancient wisdom". She felt the overpowering 
effect of his speech, seeing in him a pacificator. In private 
conversation, she was impressed with his belief in "the 
healing vitality of the people." 

Webster's famous speech of March 7th, 1850 " oftener 
reviled than read ", is best appreciated to-day, when the 
temporary issue of slavery is dead, while the problem of 
national union, because of Mexico, Japan, and the vital, 
but as yet unsettled question of State Right vs. Central 
Government is quick ond perennial. Though not previ- 
ously written out (but stenographically reported by Mr., 
later Professor Hiram Corson, of Cornell University as he 
told me in detail) it was delivered in words, measured in a 
deep soul, and each one weighed, as if for eternity. It was 
nothing more or less than an answer to Calhoun's ultima- 
tum of March 4th, which had meant disunion and secession. 
In the South Carolinian's manifesto, there had been no 
menace or bluster, but the utterance of clear and profound 
intellectual conviction. Webster's reply to Calhoun fixed 

50 



UNION THE SUPREME ISSUE 

the determination of thousands of young men in the border 
states of 1 86 1 in loyalty to the Union, even as it moved 
myriads in the North to stand by the old flag. As a soldier 
in the war between the states, in 1863 I am sure of this. 
Northern sectionalism misread Webster's masterpiece. 

This matchless oration of May 7th, 1850, which meant 
the perpetuation of American nationality was, by Webster 
himself, entitled " Speech for the Union and Constitution." 
It is a massive stone, built'immovably and imperishably, in 
the impregnable wall of "the Union forever.'' Calhoun, 
who heard the unanswerable argument, listened for the last 
time. He was never able to come again to the Senate, and 
he died twenty-three days later. 

The Northern sectionalists who heard or read Webster's 
greatest speech, and the pertinant comments on it, were not 
in a state of mind to appraise judicially its meaning, motive. 
or value, and the effect was the opposite of what Webster 
intended and expected. A deluge of abuse, rhyme without 
reason and in poetry, prose and pathos, fell upon the orator 
and statesman who had educated a generation in loyalty to 
the nation. The man who, with supremacy of intellect and 
unplummeted depth of affection for the Union, had corn- 
batted the State Right doctrines of Barneveldt and Calhoun 
found himself branded ' ' Ichabod. ' ' Whittier misread Web- 
ster, and was as thoroughly mistaken, in writing stump 
speech poems, as when picturing in his fascinating numbers 
the historical Stonewall Jackson and the probably mythical 
incident of Barbara Frietchie. Thousands of others, passion- 
blind, were, like the poet, lacking in range of vision. The 
Friend poet made apology for his first mistake, but not for 
his injustice to Webster. 

Miss Bremer pictures Henry Clay as " the dying gladia- 
tor," who had " a glance of genius which requires but little 
knowledge to enable it to perceive and comprehend much." 
As Clay gave his last address in the Senate, Charles Sumner 

51 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

entered to begin his national career, Four days later, on 
March nth, Seward uttered his famous phrase, "the higher 
law." 

During nine months of angry controversy over slavery, 
Millard Fillmore held the scales with such judicial nicety 
and unfailing courtesy, that no one could tell which policy 
he approved. Amid the high tides and surging seas of 
American oratory, he remained " tranquil amid the waves." 
Indeed, less like the eagle, carved in effigy and surmount- 
ing the canopy over his head, but more like Milton's bird 
of calm, " brooding on the charmed wave," he sat in im- 
perturbable dignity, as a model for all time. 

When Millard Fillmore came to Washington, both as 
Congressman in 1832 and as Vice-President in 1849, the 
slave market was one of the " institutions " of the city. 
On advertised days, at the public auctions, coffles of blacks 
were led out to stand on high benches. Then the physical 
examination of both male and female humanity proceeded, 
as in a cattle market. Intending purchasers were allowed to 
handle the living flesh of girls and women, as they would 
those of dumb brutes. The strength in teeth, limbs, and 
body of athletic slaves was displayed as though they were 
bulls or draught-horses under the hammer. 

As a little boy, I used to listen open-eyed and mouthed 

to the stories of famous slave auctions in Virginia, visited 

by cousins who had seen many a black Venus and ebony 

Hercules, as well as the common human stock, sold to the 

highest bidder. I heard sermons on the divinity of 

slavery — a favorite theme in many pulpits, both South and 

North. The philosophy of 1850 was much like that which 

produced the world- war of 1914. "To protect the weak, 

we must enslave them," said De Bow in his review. 

"Slavery is necessary as an educational institution and is 

worth ten times all the common schools of the North," said 

the same editor. In Washington the slave pen was visible 

from the capital. 

52 



UNION THE SUPREME ISSUE 

On the other hand, the pulpit and the theatres were for 
the most part, the allies of freedom. " Uncle Tom," read 
in 300,000 copies of the book and played upon the stage, 
for millions. The realism of book and drama made millions 
weep for the man in the indigo swamps, or the laborer in 
the cotton fields who winced under the overseer's whip. 

In the midst of the heat of July, when the end of the 
long debate was still twelve weeks distant, Mr. Fillmore 
was summoned by Providence to lay down his gavel and 
become the leader of the nation. His civil labors hardly 
more than begun, the hero of Buena Vista was called by 
the Great Commander from this world. He was one of the 
five presidents who before 1901 died in office, three of them 
being murdered. Seven vice-presidents, who served be- 
fore 1901, died while in office. 

Until within ten hours of Taylor's decease, the vice- 
president had hardly supposed that the sickness of his 
superior in office was serious or could be fatal. The reality 
of the situation dawned upon him " like a peal of thunder 
from a clear sky." The one sleepless night of his life fol- 
lowed, when he faced the fact that he must lead the nation 
as its chief executive. 

Certain features in the United States Government are not 
under the classification of law, but are the natural out- 
growths of American history. Among these are the in- 
auguration ceremonies, except the oath, and the creation of 
a Cabinet. They form part of our unwritten Constitution. 

Since Mr. Fillmore, who except Polk, was the youngest 
man so honored before the year 1850, was suddenly called 
to the chief magistracy of the nation, the simple inaugura- 
tion of the thirteenth president satisfied fully the bare text 
of the Constitution. It lacked adornment, though in form 
it was primitive and impressive. On the morning following 
the decease of President Taylor, at twelve o'clock noon in 
the Senate Chamber, before the assembled houses of Con- 

53 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

gress, the members standing during the ceremony, the oath 
of office was administered by the venerable Judge Cranch 
of the District of Columbia. 

There were no ceremonies, but as soon as the Cabinet 
and Senate had retired, the Speaker announced a message 
from the new President as follows : 

Washington, July ioth, 1850. 

" Fellow-citizens of the Senate and of the House of Rep- 
resentatives : — A great man has fallen among us, and a 
whole country is called to an occasion of unexpected deep 
and general mourning. 

I recommend to the two Houses of Congress to adopt 
such measures as in their discretion may seem proper, to 
perform with due solemnity the funeral obsequies of 
Zachary Taylor, late President of the United States ; and 
thereby to signify the great and affectionate regard of the 
American people for the memory of one whose life has been 
devoted to the public service ; whose career in arms has 
not been surpassed in usefulness or brilliancy ; who has 
been so recently raised by the unsolicited voice of the people 
to the highest civil authority in the government, which he 
administered with so much honor and advantage to his 
country ; and by whose sudden death so many hopes of 
future usefulness have been blighted forever. 

To you — Senators and Representatives of a nation in 
tears, I can say nothing which can alleviate the sorrow with 
which you are oppressed. 

I appeal to you to aid me under the trying circumstances 
which surround me, in the discharge of the duties, from 
which, however much I may be oppressed by them, I dare 
not shrink ; and I rely upon Him who holds in his hands 
the destinies of nations to endow me with the requisite 
strength for the task, and to avert from our country the 
evils apprehended from the heavy calamity which has 
befallen us. 

54 



UNION THE SUPREME ISSUE 

I shall most readily concur in whatever measures the 
wisdom of the two Houses may suggest, as befitting this 
deeply melancholly occasion. 

Millard Fillmore." 

Congress adjourned for three days, until July 13th, that 
is, until General Taylor had been buried. 



55 



CHAPTER X. 
The President and his Cabinet. 

The new President, thus inaugurated with a simplicity 
almost Spartan, immediately faced a shower of resignations. 
He had requested that the advisers of his predecessor would 
remain in office at least one mouth, and he hoped they 
would do so, but one and all declined. The penmanship 
of nearly all these July documents, now among "Letters 
Received," show the nervous tension of disappointment, 
with which the members of the Taylor Cabinet made haste 
to let Mr. Fillmore alone, and to take express trains from 
Washington homewards. Typewriting machines which 
blot out psychology and have closed the era of " author's 
manuscripts" were not then invented, and, without the 
interference of private secretaries, these writers of auto- 
graphs reveal agitating emotions behind hands and pens. 
Mr. Fillmore was obliged, by peremptory necessity, to form 
his executive council without meditation. 

There was one man, however, who remained on the 
ground, and evidently expected to influence the situation, 
if not to dominate the policy of the administration. Almost 
as soon as the hour hand of the clock permitted him to be 
called President, Mr. Fillmore received from " D. W.", a 
naked scrap of paper, bare of signature, in Daniel Webster's 
handwriting, entitled "For the President's information 
merely. On this slip is planned and named the Fillmore 
cabinet, as Daniel Webster thought it ought to be. The 
names of office and nominee are written out in full in every 
case except that of Secretary of State, under which are 
only three criss-crosses. The document reads as follows : 

" For the President's consideration merely. 

56 



THE PRESIDENT AND HIS CABINET 

Sec. of State * * * 

Do. Treasury Mr. Vinton. 

Do. Interior Mr. Graham 

Do. War Mr. Bates* 

Do. Navy Mr. Conrad 

P. M. Gen'l Mr. Pennington. 

Att'y Gen'l Mr. Crittenden. 

D. W." 

From this simple missive, penned by the great Daniel 
Webster, there is in the collection of " Letters Received " 
a downward gradation of recommendations and denuncia- 
tions, as to the coarsest villifications and unmeasured 
pathos from nobodies of all sorts and conditions. General 
Scott also penned a missive, offering advice as to the making 
of the new cabinet. It reveals a weak and vain man. A 
real war hero, his courage in battle was as that of the tra- 
ditional lion, but his pen was ever weaker than his sword. 

Along with tons of advice dumped upon the new presi- 
dent, were chapters of blackest condemnation of Webster. 
Yet Mr. Fillmore knew that he was the one man, whom it 
would have been flying in the face of logic and consistency, 
if not destiny, to fail in placing at the front of the Cabinet, 
as Secretary of State. Profoundly sincere in making the 
offer, the new president was vastly gratified when Daniel 
Webster accepted the office. 

General Scott's epistle was amusing. He added on his 
"slate," a commentary containing warnings, flattery, and 
cynical or languid judgments, while mentioning the names 
of Botts, Summers, Bridges, Rayneu, Stanley, Dawson, 
Berrien, Bell, Jones, Crittenden, and Conrad. Except to 



~ :f This will come near being a Northwestern appointment. Mr. 
Bates is well known not only to the people of Missouri, but also to 
those of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, and I believe highly respected 
by the Whigs in those states. This, in some points, is better than 
one farther South. 

57 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

the delver in archives, most of these men's names are now 
hardly more than echoes. Of one or another of these Scott 
wrote. " Querellous (sic) from bad health and incapable 
of methodical, continuous labor"; "of decided moral 
courage, but with more enemies than friends, and associa- 
tions that impair dignity ; " " a charming character, good 
abilities, but lazy, — requiring a coal of fire applied to his 
back to make him better himself " ; "a little blunt and 
rough in manners, which soldiers dislike, but forgive and 
tolerate in behalf of high worth"; "good chairman of 
military committee of the House " ; "a nullifier, I fear he 
will push State Rights too far," etc., etc. Of J. J. Crit- 
tenden he wrote, " A high character, formerly a great friend 
of mine, not now an enemy ; no habit of labor and perhaps 
not law enough to be Attorney General. Moral courage 
great. Right views and principles. Highly popular. Not 
so acceptable as Mr. Clay. 

Respectfully submitted, 

W. S." 
Washington, July 16, 1850. 

The Cabinet had increased from four persons, in the days 
of Washington, to seven in the time of Mr. Fillmore. The 
Secretary of the Navy entered the council in John Adams's 
and the Postmaster General during Jackson's administra- 
tion. Owing to the great expansion of governmental in- 
terests in the new territory acquired from Mexico, an Act 
was passed, March 3rd, 1849, the day before the inaugura- 
tion of General Taylor, creating the office of Secretary of 
the Interior. This number of seven executive advisers 
continued until long after the Civil War. The number in 
1915 is ten and is likely to be increased. 

The evidence shows that the new president sought advice 
from Henry Clay, and was notably guided by him in the 
selection of advisers. Fillmore's supreme object, like Lin- 
coln's, was the preservation of the Union. 

58 



THE PRESIDENT AND HIS CABINET 

Within ten days, after taking the oath of office, President 
Fillmore transmitted, on July 20, for confirmation by the 
Senate, a message containing his nominations to the Cabinet. 
Daniel Webster, of Massachusetts-- -Secretary of State 

Thomas Corwin, of Ohio Secretary of the Treasury 

James A. Pearce, of Maryland -Secretary of the Interior 
Wm. A. Graham, of North Carolina-Sec' y of the Navy 

Edward Bates, of Missouri Secretary of War 

Nathan K. Hall, of New York Postmaster General 

John J. Crittenden of Kentucky Attorney General 

Although the Senate confirmed these Dominations, Mr. 
Pearce and Mr. Bates were unable to accept. Subsequently 
T. Wort McKennan, then Alexander H. H. Stuart of 
Virginia took the portfolio of the newly created Depart- 
ment of the Interior, and C. M. Conrad of Louisiana be- 
came Secretary of War. The Postmaster-General was 
Mr. Fillmore's law partner in Buffalo. " Eminent ability, 
large experience in public affairs and great weight of 
character " were embodied in this selection. 

One of the ablest, as he was the handsomest man in the 
President's Cabinet, was William Alexander Graham, of 
North Carolina, who had served repeatedly in his own State 
legislature and in the United States Senate, while Mr. Fill- 
more was in the House of Representatives. He had been 
twice elected Governor of North Carolina, but declined a 
third term. When summoned by Mr. Fillmore to the Navy 
Department, he displayed uncommon grasp, acumen, and 
executive vigor, giving to the Navy a fame in science, ex- 
ploration and diplomacy, which has never been eclipsed. 
Of commanding figure, elegant manners and most agreeable 
address, his presence at the levees and receptions was 
eagerly courted. He lived to be an unsuccessful candidate 
for the vice-presidency, a senator of the Confederacy, and, 
for general usefulness, one of the first citizens of his native 
state, surviving his chief, Fillmore, a few months only and 

59 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

making his farewell to earthly life at Saratoga Springs in 
mid-August, 1875. 

Taylor's death carried confusion into the ranks of Fill- 
more's enemies. It was the battle summer of debate and 
the political parties seemed to prepare themselves for 
renewed combat over Taylor's grave. The impulses, 
higher than selfish and worldly interests, which the great 
chief had called forth, seemed buried with him. In the 
Senate, in place of " the urbane Fillmore " there was a new 
Speaker, Mr. King, of Alabama, "with more acerbity of 
manner and considerably less grace." 

A Whig in politics, the new President confronted a 
Democratic Congress. In the judicial branch of the Gov- 
ernment, only one Whig sat on the Supreme Court Bench. 
The end of "the grand old party" was approaching, 
though Mr. Fillmore knew it not and few could foresee its 
utter dissolution. 

Fierce light beat upon the new president. Newspaper 
articles freighted with advice, in all sorts and degrees of 
sanity, were showered upon the man who had suddenly 
become the greatest in the United States. The letters still 
on file show what resources of absurdity exist in human 
nature of the American variety, and frequently recall Car- 
lyle's census and verdict. As a helmsman exposed to all 
winds, temperatures and states of moisture soon gets 
weather proof, so the new president kept his equanimity. 
Being no prophet or seer, he steered according to the com- 
pass of the Constitution. To Millard Fillmore this was as 
the finger of God pointing the way. 

Taylor and Fillmore were the last candidates of the Whig 
party which was to " lose its life in attempting to swallow 
the Fugitive Slave Law." In other words, an economic 
party was wrecked on an ethical question. Yet the part of 
the "Silver Grey" wing of the party, of which Mr. Fill- 
more was the standard-bearer, in postponing civil war, 

60 



THE PRESIDENT AND HIS CABINET 

until the nation was strong enough to grapple with its 
mightiest problem, was a noble one. Most of the prelimin- 
ary work of transforming the United States from a Federal 
into a National Republic had been done by the Whigs be- 
fore the war between the states began. The Whig party 
was at least national. 



61 



CHAPTER XI. 
The Supremacy of the National Government. 

The Mexican War being over, ships, paddle wheels, and 
discharged soldiers were released to new ventures. Thous- 
ands of discontented men stood ready and eager for new 
hazards of fortune. Polk having failed to purchase Cuba, 
the logical inheritance from his administration was the 
formation of a Cuban junta in Washington. Its open pur- 
pose was to furnish new areas of sugar laud, to be worked 
by slave labor. A war of aggression opened boundless 
vistas of expansion. Fortunes were made quickly. From 
the new continent, won by arms and diplomacy, a thousand 
hands seemed to rise beckoning to daring deeds. The 
oceans and Asian lands lured to new explorations. New 
paths of commerce opened on the sea. It was Millard Fill- 
more's task to turn these resistless energies into honorable 
channels. Multiplying problems promised to tax the best 
talents of the statemen in the Executive Council. 

Toadstools and mushrooms, the quick growth of decay, 
spring up more rapidly than roses or oaks. The immediate 
outgrowths of the Mexican war were lawless attempts to 
extend the area of slave labor in any and every possible 
direction. Two-thirds of Taylor's army were Southerners 
— a tremendous advantage to the unborn Confederacy, when 
strife between the States should break out, the one war 
being the sequel of the other. These men had made sacri- 
fices for slavery, but Wilmot's proviso threatened at first to 
shatter their hopes. 

The war and new territory ceded from Mexico cost the 
nation $150,000,000, three-fourths of which was to come 
from the North. Then, further, our country was to have a 
long spell of "growing pains". 

62 



SUPREMACY OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT 

There was a pathetic and comical side also, showing that 
most of "The bold soldier boys" had suffered in the cam- 
paigns of Venus before serving with Mars. There was, it 
seems, a two-fold propulsion to adventure. The London 
Punch, as usual, had its fun with our folks. 

In a poem on The Yankee Volunteers, of whom the army- 
surgeons declared that " nine-tenths of the men had en- 
listed on account of some female difficulty", Punch thus 
expressed his mind in a general review of history : 

' ' Thus always has it ruled, 
And when a woman smiles, 
The strong man was a child, 
The sage a noodle ; 
Alcides was befooled 
And silly Samson shorn 
Long, long e'er you were born, 
Poor Yankee Doodle ! '" 

Survivors of the Mexican War are now few and far be- 
tween, yet occasionally we have pathetic reminders. The 
First New York Regiment returned to New York, July 27, 
1848, and deposited its battle flags in the Governor's Room 
of the City Hall. On Nov. 17, 1907, five greyhaired veter- 
ans, with a guard of honor, transferred these same flags 
from the City Hall to the United States military authorities 
on Governor's Island, in the Chapel of the Centurion. All 
this is cool and calm. On the contrary, the heat of con- 
troversy in Mr. Fillmore's day reminds one of the contents 
and outpouring stream of a Bessemer converter. 

Waiving chronological order, we glance first at Oregon, 
then at New Mexico (not made a state until 19 13) and 
finally at California, which leaped first into statehood. It 
was over the protracted debate and long world-battles 
during the first part of the hot summer in 1850, until July 
10th, amid siroccos of eloquence and volcanos of argument, 
that Mr. Fillmore had presided. In the Presidential chair, 
he was no stranger to the problems presented, especially 
since the debate continued three months longer. 

63 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Polk's administration made its escape from its " 54 40' 
or fight, ' " by taking the advice of the Senate in advance, ' ' 
and the boundary line between British and Yankee America 
was fixed at 49 . Thus, after twenty years of discussion 
over a frontier line, the Oregon country was organized as a 
territory, August 14, 1848. 

The exploration of this part of the Pacific Coast, which 
contains one of the grandest western water gateways into 
the continent, is associated with an uuusually brilliant list 
of names, — Juan de Fuca, the Greek pilot of the viceroy of 
Mexico ; Bruno Heceta, the Spanish explorer ; Captain 
Cook, the British hero ; Robert Gray, the Yankee skipper, 
who gave the name of Columbia to the great river, thus 
furnishing the Government of the United States with its 
positive claim to "the Oregon country" George Van- 
couver, the Englishman of Dutch descent, who explored 
the waters of Puget Sound ; Lewis and Clark, the overland 
explorers ; Parker and Whitman, who, sent out by Christian 
people from Ithaca, N. Y., first carried the good news of 
God to men and took over the Rocky Mountains the first 
white woman and the first wheeled vehicle ; Fremont, the 
pathfinder who followed in Whitman's trail with soldiers, 
and, finally, with the marine examinations by the Antarctic 
explorer, Charles Wilkes, and Commodore John Drake 
Sloat. During Fillmore's time, " the Whitman legend," 
unknown and unheard of, had not sprouted. 

The area of the State of Washington was erected into a 
territory during Fillmore's administration, on the 2nd of 
March, 1853, two days before the New Yorker stepped out, 
and the man from New Hampshire stepped into the W T hite 
House. Its star of statehood was first seen on the flag, 
November 11, 1889. 

Between New Mexico and the Lone Star State, Fillmore 
faced a dangerous question, which might at any moment 
produce bloody strife. General Kearny had entered Santa 

64 



SUPREMACY OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT 

Fe in August, 1846, and New Mexico was still under mili- 
tary government. The treaty with Mexico had left the 
question of boundaries unsettled. The future states and 
territories of Utah and Nevada, and a large part of Arizona 
and Colorado, were included in this cession of the territory 
of New Mexico, which embraced the whole area of land 
below the 37th parallel and between California and Texas, 
and also the land northward to the Arkansas river. 

Texas however, claimed the portion of land lying east of 
the Rio Grande and at once took active measures to make 
her claim good, by occupying that portion of the country 
which was the most populous, and out of which it was 
hoped to carve four large counties. In a word, as some in- 
terpreted this act, the slave power would, without losing an 
hour, or even a moment, extend its area. 

Yet this was not a question between New Mexico and 
Texas but between the two nations, Mexico and the United 
States. On Nov. 19, 1849, by order of President Taylor, 
the military authorities directed the people living in their 
department in that part of New Mexico east of the Rio 
Grande to form a state constitution. This was a dangerous 
precedent and a vicious principle — that the army should 
interfere with or take upon itself the making of civil gov- 
ernment. It was old Rough-and-Ready's short and simple 
way. 

At once Governor P. H. Bell of Texas sent a letter to 
the President asking if this had been done by orders from 
Washington. Arriving after Taylor's decease, this missive 
was answered, as we shall see, by Mr. Fillmore through the 
Secretary of State, in a masterly document, which was none 
the less impressive because it was throughout conciliatory 
in tone. 

Had New Mexico been a state, the burning question 
could have been settled by judicial decision. Meanwhile, 
the United States military forces at Santa Fe refused to 

5 65 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

acknowledge the sovereignty or obey the orders of the Texas 
judiciary. President Taylor, when appealed to, declared 
that the settlement of the boundary question was the busi- 
ness of Congress and not of the President. One gentleman, 
styling himself Commissioner of the State of Texas, at- 
tempted to organize counties in New Mexico under the 
jurisdiction of Texas. He was given military notice to 
desist at once. Affairs looked ominous. Was there to be 
a collision between Texas and the United States ? When 
trouble was most imminent, President Taylor died. His 
successor's first duty was to assert the national supremacy 
over a fraction, according to the simple axiom in mathe- 
matics, which declares the whole to be greater than its 
parts. Certain phases of the situation remind us of 1914, 
and diplomacy with Japan. , 

President Fillmore's special message to Congress, on 
August 1 6th, tells the story. The Texas legislature in 
special session had decided to maintain the claim of Texas, 
with her two hundred thousand people, against the United 
States, by force ! To understand this case of Lilliput 
against Brobdignag, it must be remembered that the United 
States had been the wooing party to get Texas into the 
Union, and great things had been promised from Washing- 
ton in the way of internal improvements, besides coast and 
frontier defense. After the marriage, the wooer failed to 
fulfil his pledges. The Texans felt that they had been 
wronged, and were irritated and defiant. 

Millard Fillmore was an American and a Unionist. Con- 
fronted by the grave danger of nullification, he declared 
that, in the face of the treaty with Mexico, any movement 
of the Texas militia into New Mexico would be trespass 
and be treated as such. Treaties are part of the supreme 
law of the land, which every state must obey. The Presi- 
dent said to the Governor of Texas " This supreme law of 

the land is to be maintained Neither the 

66 



SUPREMACY OF THE NATIONAL G0VERNMEN1 

Constitution nor the laws, nor my oath of office leave me 
any alternative or any choice in my mode of action." 

The real root of the matter was this. The Texas of 1850 
held to slavery in its most violent and offensive form, giving 
no place on its soil either to free negroes or to manumitted 
slaves. The desire to enlarge the area of human bondage 
was uppermost in the minds of her fire-eating politicians. 
Mr. Fillmore's course, in asserting the supremacy of the 
law of the land, over the kind of a Texas that existed in 
1850, drew upon him from some quarters in the South, as 
much bitter denunciation as the Fugitive Slave Law com- 
pelled him to receive in the North. Happy for us of to-day, 
he could stand both. 

Throwing the main burden upon Congress, Mr. Fillmore 
thus defined the power of the nation's chief magistrate. 
" The duty of the executive extends only to the execution 
of laws and the maintenance of treaties already in force and 
the protection of all the people of the United States, in all 
the rights which those treaties and laws guarantee." 

As speedy action was necessary and delay, through refer- 
ence to courts, arbitration, or a commission was, in the 
state of society on the border, highly dangerous, Mr. Fill- 
more, after a conciliatory letter to Governor Bell, recom- 
mended to Congress, as the solution of the problem, the 
unconditional obedience of Texas to the supreme law of the 
land, and, also, that a fair and liberal indemnity should be 
paid her by the United States. 

Meanwhile, to guard against danger of a collision, the 
President ordered the regular army in New Mexico to be 
strongly reinforced. There was to be no trifling with the 
central Government. 

This offer, to treat Texas with consideration and even 
generosity, was so different from the double policy of greed 
and neglect shown by the two former administrations, that 
in tne land of the bowie knife a total change of temperature 

67 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

took place. The traveler, ready to set out on the war path, 
who had girded himself against storm could not resist sun- 
shine. The armor and cloak of defiance were thrown off 
and Mr. Fillmore's recommendation was cheered with de- 
light. The President won a victory, none the less glorious 
because bloodless, 

Congress passed an Act fixing boundaries, granting a 
civil government to New Mexico and to Texas a bonus of 
ten millions of dollars, in United States bonds bearing in- 
terest at five per-cent, on condition of her relinquishment of 
all land exterior to those boundaries as well as of all claims _ 
on the United States and of a territorial government in New 
Mexico, whose four years of military rule were now over. 
This was the second of the six " Compromise Measures ". 

The policy of President Fillmore contrasts sharply with 
that of President Taylor, the one illustrating civil and the 
other military methods. 

The United States in 1850 contained twenty- four million 
souls and over 543,783 more square miles than under pre- 
vious administrations. 



68 



CHAPTER XII. 
Loyalty to the Constitution. 

Few persons of to-day realize how near the American 
people, in 1851, were to civil war. We should recall and 
understand the situation, so as to see why so many states- 
men believed in the Compromise Measures of that year and 
why Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Bill, and 
enforced it as law. 

As early as the year 1815, there was an "Underground 
Railroad " and regular routes, by which runaway slaves 
passed through the northern states and reached Canada, 
the land of freedom. By i860, there was a vast network 
of known roads on which aiders and abettors had stations. 
About five hundred slaves were run off every year. In the 
twentieth century those who read the biographies and obitu- 
aries of those pious law-breakers, who for conscience sake 
aided the black refuges, can realize how dilligent such for- 
warding agents were. 

These facts added fuel to the flame of hatred already 
burning in the breasts of the three hundred thousand slave- 
holders of the South, who directed the politics of eleven 
millions of peoples. Their feelings found lively expression 
from the state governors. Meeting in convention at Nash- 
ville, they resolved " that a secession by the joint action of 
the slave-holding states is the only efficient remedy for 
the aggravated wrongs which they now endure, and the 
enormous events which threaten them in the future from 
the usurped and now unrestricted power of the Federal 
Government." In Indiana and Alabama, the same spirit 
which was "stirring the fire with the sword," prevailed. 
South Carolina, it had been declared, "will interpose her 
own sovereignty, sooner than submit to the aggressions of 
the Federal Congress." The Governor of Virginia asserted 

69 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

later that "any repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law, or any 
essential modification of it, is a mutual repeal of the Union." 
In Mississippi, Jefferson Davis, nominated on the issue of 
withdrawing the state from the Union, had received 8,000 
votes. It was believed that defeat of the Conservatives of 
the North — the men advocating compromise in preference 
to civil war — would mean " the death knell of the Union." 
Even such straws as postage reform and the incoming of 
Western influence were hoped for in favor of unity. 
Drowning men caught at these to save the Union. 

Mr. Fillmore believed in the peaceable policy of emanci- 
pating and colonizing the negroes in Africa. He was 
elected to and accepted the vice-presidency of the American 
Colonization Society, June 30, 1851. In his message to 
Congress, December 6, 1852, he wrote out a plan, which in 
print covers twelve pages in the " Fillmore Papers" (Vol. 
I. PP- 3 I 3 _ 3 2 5)» DUt tne members of his Cabinet, fearing 
that his recommendation of a scheme of gradual emancipa- 
tion, including colonization and compensation, would pre- 
cipitate civil war, dissuaded him from making it public. 

None knew more than Fillmore himself that if he signed 
the Fugitive Slave Law, it would be the death blow to his 
personal popularity in the North, and that the great portion 
of his political friends would be alienated forever. Indeed, 
his wife told him so and made it clear to him. Neverthe- 
less, when he saw his duty to the whole country, all 
thoughts of self-interest were like a feather in the scale. 
No Samurai of Japan was ever more loyal to conviction than 
this true American. Abraham Lincoln always sustained 
the legality and enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law. 

The vote on the Fugitive Slave Bill was less than two- 
thirds, so that except for the President's approval, it might 
not have become law. When the document was laid before 
Mr. Fillmore, he submitted it to the Attorney General, 
Mr. Crittenden, who pronounced it constitutional. This 

70 



LOYALTY TO THE CONSTLTUTION 

decided the President and lie at once affixed his signature, 
September i8, 1850. 

The view held in common by Clay, Webster, Fillmore, 
and Lincoln, was that the paramount issue before the na- 
tion was not slavery, but national growth. Webster be- 
lieved that the limits of slavery were fixed by nature, which 
had set impassable barriers, and that gradual emancipation 
was certain in time. " Slavery was sure to die everywhere 
of its own weakness ", as fast as it was to the interest of 
the slave and humanity that it should be extinguished. 
Slavery was recognized by the Constitution. Northern 
people thought and acted as if the Fugitive Slave Law 
created an obligation, whereas it had been in the Constitu- 
tion, though virtually forgotten, during sixty years. Web- 
ster realized the colossal task of holding in union the North 
and South, and believed with all bis heart and soul in Fill- 
more's policy of harmony and adjustment. In a word, he 
was consistent with his lifelong record as a patriot and 
statesman. 

The adjournment of Congress was succeeded by a shower 
of slavery-justifying sermons, novels and books, while the 
periodicals joined to shout the anti-slavery agitation into 
silence. Yet on this, as on most national questions, there 
was a difference, according to geography. Opinion and 
feeling in the great maritime cities, which desired business 
tranquillity, and in the inland cities and rural districts, 
varied according to interests. The agricultural people in 
the North insisted on the repeal of this law but the same 
class in the South, long irritated by the escape of fugitives 
from labor, cried out that their " property " was in danger, 
unless the law was enforced. Social wrongs might find an 
anti-social remedy — secession ; but this was denounced by 
many as absurd and impracticable. Nature and art, it was 
declared, bind together the North and South ; most of the 
great rivers flow through both slave and free states and 

71 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

therefore the Union was according to Providence. It was 
very soon evident that those in charge of the slavery propa- 
ganda had committed the very worst of blunders in strategy. 

The first arrest under the new law was in New York. In 
less than three hours the slave was being carried southward, 
but the North was at once aflame. Boston was humiliated 
by the arrest and return of Anthony Burns, Hon. Charles 
N. Devins being the United States Marshal. United States 
troops from Fort Independence acted a posse comitatas. 
This provoked a fierce tempest of opposition. " We must 
trample the law under our feet", cried Wendell Phillips. 
Whittier kindled and swept men's emotions to flame, as of 
prairie fire in the wind, with his poem, " The Rendition ". 
To feel the heat of the times, one must read again the 
verses printed in the New York Tribune, entitled " The 
Flaunting Lie ", denouncing the American flag, by Miles 
O'Reilly (Charles G. Halpine) when the fugitive slave, 
Anthony Burns, was taken on the United States revenue 
cutter to Virginia. Thus it was declared the stars and 
stripes were prostituted to slavery's power. 

A good deal of the rebel spirit of disloyalty, nullification 
and anarchy in the north masked itself under the name of 
Puritanism — a word as often and as foully abused as is that 
of liberty. In Faneuil Hall a resolution was carried that 
"Constitution or no constitution, law or no law, we will 
not allow a fugitive slave to be taken from the State of 
Massachusetts ". This was supposed to be the quintessence 
of "Puritan" patriotism. Certain people in the north 
thought that defiance of the National Government was both 
"higher law" and loyalty to State Right. With much of 
the glee of incoming passengers from Europe, who hood- 
wink the customs inspectors, men gloated over their law- 
lessness. Other incidents, apart from the signature of the 
executive, combined to make the new law unspeakably 
odious. Yet Mr. Fillmore's conscience was clear. He was 
president of the whole country and not part of it only. • 

72 



LOYALTY TO THE CONSTITUTLON 

"With what face", Mr. Fillmore argued, "could we 
require the South to comply with their constitutional obli- 
gations, while we in the North openly refused to live up to 
ours by the nullification of the Fugitive Slave Law ? " His 
action in this, he considered, as do thousands now, was one 
of the most unselfish and patriotic of his life. 

The real effect of the Fugitive Slave Law was to prevent 
the extension of slavery to other parts of the continent. 
Not a dozen cases are known of runaway slaves being 
restored to their owners under this act. 

The ex post facto provisions of the Fugitive Slave Law, in 
which it violated the Constitution, were its worst features. 
These were most galling to the North, for already over 
twenty thousand fugitive slaves were dwelling in the free 
states. At once, a myriad of these fled to Canada. Terror- 
stricken colored members of the churches all along the 
northern border of the free states, sharing the fears of the 
self-emancipated, and liable to forcible return to the house 
of bondage, began a great movement toward freedom under 
the British flag. Their feeling was like that of the Hugue- 
nots of 1690, in New York, during Leisler's time, when 
possible slavery in the French galleys disturbed the dreams 
of the exiles. 

In February, 1851, 100 members of the Baptist Church 
in Buffalo had crossed the Niagara River and many from 
the Methodist Church also. Of 114 colored Baptists in 
Rochester, 1 12 moved with their pastor over the line. In 
Detroit, 84 members of the Baptist church turned their 
backs to the alleged "land of the free." During the 
summer, it was thought, six thousand colored persons fled 
to Canada. Vigilance committees were formed among the 
black people to give notice of the coming of the slave 
captors. It was almost like the exodus of sub-patriotic 
white men, in 1862-63, fleeing to Canada to escape the 
draft. 

73 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Hitherto the national constitution had been automatic, 
working for itself. Now, it had to be enforced, if the 
Fugitive Slave Law was constitutional, by the armed 
strength of the nation. The organized slave power, backed 
by the might of the central government, was invading the 
area of free soil. 

On the other hand, the doctrine of State Right, hitherto 
held as the chief tenet and most vigorously applied by 
slave holders, now worked for freedom. The legislatures 
of the northern states began to frame and pass personal 
liberty bills, which virtually annulled the provisions, 
especially those deemed unconstitutional, of the slave- 
catching law. 

In the South the calm was almost as ominous as the 
quiet of preparation that precedes a great battle. From 
the great debate in the Senate, orators rested and " Vesu- 
vius was capped for awhile " — but only that a Kirishima 
earthquake might come later. 

Cotton had triumphed over tobacco, Virginia, with its 
soil exhausted, had seen its sceptre pass to South Carolina, 
and was now a breeding place for slaves to be sold further 
South — twelve thousand a year. Nevertheless, while 
slavery was rampant and earth-hungry, the Union was the 
idol of the American heart. The West, now becoming the 
dominant factor in the conflict held the balance of power. 
After statesmen should have failed to settle the issue, it 
was to send forth hosts of soldiers trained in the doctrines 
of Daniel Webster, to save the Union. 

Something of the tension of mind above Mason and 
Dixon's line, somewhat of the electricity of passion that 
already surcharged the air, may be recalled, not only from 
boyhood's memories of exciting scenes in Philadelphia, 
when defiant crowds opposed United States marshals at- 
tempting to recapture runaway slaves, but from the events 
of the time and the reminiscences of friends of the Presi- 
dent who " damned himself with his own pen." 

74 



LOYALTY TO THE CONSTITUTION 

"In 1850," wrote one in 1907, " three hundred thousand 
slaveholders, under the lead of John C. Calhoun, had not 
only got the ten millions of the South in their grip, but 
practically and politically the twenty millions of the North 
as well." Indeed, I have myself heard Southern men, 
bravest of the brave among Confederate veterans, say that 
the Civil War "emancipated eleven million white men." 

There were Unionists in the South who sustained the 
President as a wise, far-seeing and unselfish patriot. In 
view of the order to the troops to support the United States 
Marshal, the Augusta Chronicle of March 4, 1851, wrote : 
" What a terrible blow Mr. Fillmore has inflicted upon the 
Southern disunionists. The Boston negro rioters were 
their last hope, and if they are not put down, the dis- 
unionists are doomed." 

It is to be noted also that Benjamin Robbins Curtis, 
whom Mr. Fillmore appointed as associate justice of the 
Supreme Court, dissented from Judge Taney's decision in 
the Dred Scott case of 1857. 

Professor Hosmer, son of Mr. Fillmore's Unitarian 
Church pastor in Buffalo, wrote in 1905: "It is sad I 
think, that a pure and well meaning, though not at all a 
great man, should have been caught in such a public crisis 
and that he should be pilloried as a weakling and a ' dough 
face,' and his good record as a patriotic, efficient public 
man quite forgotten, As to slavery, I believe his position 
to have been about that of Abraham Lincoln. The Con- 
stitution recognized slavery and required the return of 
fugitives. Lincoln was ready to do it. My father (Rev. 
Dr. Hosmer) a strong anti-slavery man but not an extreme 
abolitionist, talked intimately with Mr. Fillmore, about 
signing the Fugitive Slave Bill, who declared earnestly 
that he thought it the only way to avert a civil war. I 
have heard men say this, and I think it not unreasonable : 
that, as things have turned out, Mr. Fillmore really 

75 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

rendered his country a vast service ; but for the signing of 
the Fugitive Slave Bill and other temporizing and con- 
ciliatory acts, the war would have come ten years earlier 
than it did. In '51 the North was not as well prepared for 
it as it was in '61, and probably the Union would have 
been destroj^ed." 

Another declared, "But for that scratch of Fillmore's 
pen, the Union would have gone by the board." 

When Rev. Dr. Hosmer remonstrated with his parish- 
oner, Mr. Fillmore, for signing the Bill, the President 
" raised his hands in vehement appeal. He had only a 
choice between terrible evils — to inflict suffering which he 
hoped might be temporary, or to precipitate an era of 
bloodshed, with the destruction of the country as a probabe 
result Of two imminent evils he had, as he be- 
lieved, chosen the lesser". One must remember that, in 
1850, the East and West had not yet been bound by the 
railways into mutual interest, but that the Mississippi river 
was the great route south or west, nor had the great emi- 
gration of Germans, Irish and other lovers of freedom, yet 
furnished material for the Union armies. 

Mr. Sellstedt, the Buffalo artist, asked Mr. Filmore why 
he signed the Fugitive Slave Bill, when he must have 
known it would hurt his political prestige. He replied 
that it was by the advice of Mr. Webster, his Secretary of 
State. The substance of it was already in the Constitution 
and it was thought best to give way to the South till the 
territories were made states, when a constitutional amend- 
ment could be hoped for. 

Mr. James Ford Rhodes, who, in 191 2, received the 
gold medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, 
for History, says "This infamous act (The Fugitive Slave 
Law) had blasted the reputation of every one who had any 
connection with it, and he (Millard Fillmore) had suffered 
with the rest, yet it appeared to me unjustly." 

76 



CHAPTER XIV. 
Our Policy of Non-intervention. 

Revolution sometimes precedes reformation. With Japan, 
between 1825 and 1853, there was first of all interior recon- 
struction in thought and principle ; hence in 1868, the year 
of opportunity, true reformation. 

In 1848, while Japan was getting ready to go forward, 
parts of Europe retrograded. The long calm of exhaustion, 
following Waterloo, was broken ; but without sufficient 
preparation to bode good. The storm burst, only to work, 
for a time at least, more destruction than construction. 
The revolutions of 1848 were, for the most part, failures. 
Groaning under oppressive conditions, the people rose 
against their monarchs and struggled to be free, only to be 
forced back, into old conditions, by the armies of despots. 
The monarchs of Europe taking alarm at the expulsion of 
Louis Philippe from France, massed their forces to crush, 
with their illiterate hordes of armed men, the uprising of 
the peoples, who hungered for education, opportunity and 
freedom. 

This meant that refugees pleading for help would be 
coming numerously to America. The cause they repre- 
sented would command admiration. Yet woe to the man 
among them who would mistake sympathy with humanity 
for personal regard ! No more frightful disappointments 
await men who are indexes, and not incarnations. 

In Hungary, Lajos (Eouis Kossuth,) voicing his country- 
men's aspirations, led in throwing off the yoke of Austria. 
Russian intervention blasted their patriotic hopes and Kos- 
suth fled to Turkey and into exile. Devoting himself to 
the English Bible and to Shakespeare, this speaker of a 
Turanian language, so closely akin to the Japanese, 
mastered the English Tongue and on March 27, 1850, sent 
an address to the American people. 

77 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

There was instant response, with intense and sympathetic 
excitement in the United States. In his message of March 
28, 1849, President Taylor made reference to the situation 
and sent Mr. Dudley Mann to Austria and Hungary to get 
the real facts in the case. The Vienna Court at once 
made defiant response. Mr. Hiilsemann the Austrian 
charge d'affaires, reached Washington at the time of Tay- 
lor's decease. Delaying until Mr. Fillmore came into office, 
he presented the Austrian protest against our Government's 
action. Among the dreadful things the envoy threatened 
was an appeal to arms. 

Such a farrago of ignorance and impudence, as this letter 
of Hiilsemanu's, was never offered in Washington, and no 
more vigorous reply than Fillmore's is known in American 
diplomacy. The erudition displayed and the appeals to 
history made are the Secretary's, the decision, the defiance, 
the scorn are the President's. The right of sending an 
agent of inquiry is vindicated. The American people " can- 
not fail to cherish always a lively interest in the fortune of 
nations struggling for institutions like their own." The 
President vindicates his predecessor's policy as consistent 
with the neutral policy of the United States. The cabinet 
of Vienna is taken " into the presence of its own predeces- 
sors." The warm reception given by the Austrian am- 
bassador to the American envoys, in Paris, in 1777, is 
recalled. 

To Hulsemann's threats of war, President Fillmore an- 
swered, " the Government of the United States is willing 
to take its chances and abide its destiny." To treat Mr. 
Mann, the President's agent of inquiry, as a spy, would 
mean instant reprisal, " to be waged to the utmost exertion 
of the power of the Republic military and naval. ' ' Nothing 
will deter the United States from displaying " at their dis- 
cretion, the rights belonging to them as an independent 
nation, and of expressing their own opinions freely." 

78 



OUR POLICY OF NON-INTERVENTION 

The rhetoric of this communication was Webster's, but 
the spirit and substance were Fillmore's. The President at 
once dispatched the U. S. S. S. Mississippi to Turkey, to 
secure the release of the Hungarian refugees, but Kossuth 
did not come directly to the United States. Piloted by a 
British officer of the Horse Guards, who was to entertain 
him, he landed in England and began making addresses. 
His auditors were amazed at his fluency in English. The 
British Liberals praised warmly President Fillmore's rebuke 
of Hiilsemaun, which hostile partisans at home dubbed a 
" stump speech under diplomatic guise ". 

In storm and in sunshine, plants and men act differently. 
The real test of Kossuth was to come. As against Austrian 
oppression, he seemed an ideal hero, a champion of the 
rights of man and of constitutional government. Could he 
remain so on our soil, he was sure to fire the Anglo-Saxon 
heart and touch its purse. If, however, his ideas were 
purely local and his aims parochial and selfish, he was fore- 
doomed to bitter disappointment. 

It was just this failure to touch the mind and heart of the 
thinking man, as distinct from the crowd who shouted 
huzzas or ate dinners in honor of a picturesque visitor, that 
accounts for Kossuth's inability in 1850 to move the men 
worth moving. ' ' Kossuth ceased to be a hero, when he 
touched British soil ", said the London Times. The bril- 
liant orator excited sympathy, but he secured no direct aid. 

Mr. Fillmore had kept his eyes upon every phase of that 
agitated volcano in Europe, and in 1848. Yet for him, as 
president, there was but one compelling precedent, — that 
set by Washington. When Kossuth, with his party of 
about twenty persons, appeared in the nation's capital, 
Webster asked for the Hungarian an interview. Mr. Fill- 
more's answer was as prompt as it was businesslike. 

" If he wants simply an introduction, I will see him, but 
if he wants to make a speech to me, I must respectfully 
decline to see him." 

79 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Webster answered, " He has promised not to make a 
speech ' ' . 

' ' Very well, then ' ' , said the President, ' ' I will see him ' ' . 

Kossuth, with a glittering retinue, came the next day, 
December 31 to the White House. The interview was 
strictly private. Reporters and the Hungarian suite were 
excluded. Instantly Kossuth began a lengthy speech. 
When he had finished, Mr. Fillmore said that he " most 
decidedly could not, and would not, interfere in the affairs 
of a foreign nation." 

A dinner was given at the Executive Mansion, at which 
there were thirty-two guests. There were present the 
Cabinet secretaries and their wives, three ladies of the 
White House, members of the Senate and House com- 
mittees, the presiding officer acting as Vice-president and 
Speaker of the House, with Kossuth and his suite in bril- 
liant military uniforms. 

In the Senate the Hungarian was received with the same 
ceremonies as were held in welcome of Lafayette. Cass, 
Foote, and Seward, whose speeches make strange reading 
to-day, lost their heads, seeing in Kossuth a new Washing- 
ton. Yet while banquets were given in the Hungarian's 
favor, there were anti- Kossuth dinners, also. Crittenden 
advised his hearers to stand in the old road ' ' that every 
president, from Washington to Fillmore travelled," Clay's 
dying words showed that he believed that there was "no 
hope for republicanism yet in Europe ". 

The Chevalier Hiilsemann lost both his temper and his 
manners. He sent a note of protest against the reception 
of Kossuth, and this, not to the Secretary of State, but to 
the President. At once the Austrian was notified that he 
could withdraw from Washington within twenty-four hours, 
which he did. Retiring from his post, he left his duties in 
charge of Mr. August Belmont, of New York. It was a 
case of good riddance. 

80 



OUR POLICY OF NON-INTERVENTION 

The Hungarian had misinterpreted the motives and pur- 
pose of our Government in inviting him to the United 
States. Mr. Fillmore had secured the release of Kossuth 
and the national frigate, Mississippi, had been sent to Tur- 
key to bring him to America. All this was done in the ex- 
pectation that the liberated man would settle down quietly 
in his American asylum. It was not imagined that the 
Hungarian would make the United States the basis of agita- 
tion against Austria. 

Some aspirants to the presidency, ready to use every 
public movement as motor or vehicle, hoped to rise on the 
wave of Kossuthism to fame and power. One New York 
paper denominated Kossuth ' ' a trump card skillfully played, 
which maj 7 win the White House." Many ladies, captivated 
with the Hungarian's eloquence, kissed him. When he 
lectured in Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, Mr. Beecher 
carried some rusty cannon balls, alleged to be from Bunker 
Hill, into the pulpit. Other ministers went wild. A Bible 
was given him and Protestant hopes were high. During 
the " Kossuth mania," besides some dollars, a number of 
American relics, such as locks of hair of Washington and 
Jefferson were received by the patriot, but he and his suite 
hungered for more solid tokens of approval. Europeans 
saw that, whether it was Jenny Lind, or Kossuth, as indi- 
cators of the winds of favor or neglect, the American peo- 
ple furnished a very inflammable body. 

Was Kossuth a Lafayette or a Genet ? Four hundred 
diners sat down in New York to his honor. Webster's cool 
letter was hissed. The New York Democratic Central Com- 
mittee declared that " 100,000 armed men will rally around 
the American standard to be unfurled on the field, when 
the issue between freedom and despotism is to be decided." 
Many delegations waited on Kossuth and he replied adroitly 
to each one. It was astonishing bow American air stimu- 
lated good appetite. The average native was quite ready 

6 ' 81 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

to eat high-priced dinners on behalf of down-trodden Eu- 
rope, but he had no real sentiment in favor of intervention, 
nor were the "sinews of war" forthcoming. Of the $i 60,- 
000 raised in the United States, $130,000 were spent on 
banquets and personal expenses, and only $30,000 for 
muskets. Instead of floating $1,000,000 worth of bonds of 
the Hungarian republic, the visitors scarcely got enough to 
keep a regiment in the field two months. 

Kossuth approved highly of the coup d'etat of Napoleon 
III. in December 2, 1S51, but he had no word of commen- 
dation of the free soil or abolition movement. In the 
South, he found that people were not warm in his cause. 
To the slave holders, the logic in the case was as clear as 
when the Dutch Beggars of the Sea were fighting against 
Philip II. of Spain. Queen Elizabeth Tudor could not ap- 
prove of people rebelling against their princes, though she 
might permit her merchants to lend them money to the 
amount of ,£100,000 at high rates of interest. Men hold- 
ing blacks in bondage and wishing to extend slave territory 
reasoned that the more freedom in the world the less chance 
for slavery. No, they would not cheer Kossuth. 

Mr. Fillmore was somewhat puzzled at Kossuth's en- 
dorsement of Napoleon III, in turning the French Republic 
into an empire. On the 29th of May previous, in welcom- 
ing the new minister of France, M. de Sartiges, the Presi- 
dent had said "Our friendship with France originated 
with our struggle for a national existence and was cemented 
by the mingling of the blood of our Revolutionary sires 

with that of their allies, the heroes of France The 

American people hailed with unaffected delight your recent 
advent among the nations of the earth as a sister republic. 
... I again welcome you to our shores as the diplomatic 
agent of the leading republic of Europe." 

A few months later, not with enthusiasm, but in due 
routine of politeness, the President of the United States 

82 



OUR POLICY OF NON-INTERVENTION 

received the next envoy from France, but this time from a 
mushroom Empire, with a despot at the head of it. The 
close resemblance between the French Empire and a South 
American republic ruled by a dictator seemed to irreverent 
Americans comical in the extreme. Eater on, France 
nobly redeemed herself. 

By the middle of January, " Kossuthism " was over, and 
the wise handling of the matter by the President was mani- 
fest to all. Our peaceful armada, under Perry, was left 
free to sail to Japan and help to begin the making of an 
Asian nation holding Anglo-Saxon ideals. 

Kossuth's visit fixed, it did not shake, the non-interven- 
tion policy of the United States. President Fillmore dis- 
appointed alike the war contractors and unscrupulous 
partisans. A thousand newspapers declared for Kossuth, 
but when he criticized the American Government, his 
journeys, instead of being like those of an Emperor, fell 
off in importance. With steady skill, Fillmore foiled the 
wild rage of partisans who strove to embroil the United 
States in war with foreign powers. He clung to wisest 
tradition and to saving precedent, thus reinforcing the de- 
termination of the American people neither to enter into 
"entangling alliances ", nor to go to war with one country 
on behalf of another. 

Only once, perhaps, does it appear that our Government 
failed in maintaining, or at least in properly manifesting 
its approval of a policy as old as the nation itself. When 
in 1900, Rear- Admiral Eouis Kempff, of the United States 
Navy, during the Boxer uprising, refused to violate our 
peace with China and join with the allies in making war 
on China, by the utterly unnecessary bombardment of the 
Taku forts, he received no word of approval or commenda- 
tion from Washington. President and Congress were silent, 
while the yellow press misrepresented, distorted and de- 
nounced. To this day, though later, instant upon the 

83 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

news received, the telegraph was made hot to send con- 
gratulations upon the slaughter of Filipino men, women 
and children by our soldiers, this gallant naval officer 
Admiral Kempff has received no public justification. He 
is not alone in American history. 

Fillmore's unswerving action in the case of Hungary 
made later deliverances, from pro-Fenianism, pro-Armeni- 
aniam, pro-Boer republicanism and pro-Mexicanism, quite 
easy. In 1906, Maxim Gorky's appeals for revolutionary 
Russia fell flat. We best help liberty throughout the 
world by having a strong Government, able to make its 
voice, advice, remonstrance, or warning heard in the coun- 
cils of the governments of Europe and the nations of the 
world. 

In his own country Kossuth, who died in 1894, has been 
nobly honored and commemorated. His son who walked 
in his fathers' footsteps, as champion of Hungary, lived 
to win like honors in life until his death in 1914. 



84 



CHAPTER XIV. 
The Yankee in Europe. 

The Fillmore era was one of almost boundless material 
prosperity. It was also the time when "This glorious 
Yankee nation. . . . the greatest and the best" — as we 
boys used to sing in " the fifties," — when our nation made 
itself known in new fashion to Europe and Asia. Under 
Fillmore's administration, the American people gave two 
notable displays of their national products and manu- 
factures, one in England and one in Japan. Of these in- 
dustrial expositions, at opposite ends of the earth, after 
" A cycle of Cathay "-—that is, sixty years, we may well 
ask, which was the more influential ? 

Under the glass and iron dome of the Crystal Palace in 
London, Yankee notions of all sorts were introduced to 
Europe and the world. On the strand at Yokohama, 
Americans brought to the Japanese their implements and 
devices as object lessons in Western civilization. This 
was a thousand years after that first exhibition in Japan of 
Greek, Persian, Hindoo, Korean and Chinese arts at Nara 
— and in a building erected A.D. 784 and still standing, 
the oldest wooden edifice in the world — which placed their 
island country at the head of all schools of art in Asia. In 
1854, the Japanese saw the first formal display of modern 
industries and inventions, by the seashore of a region 
which, in Nara days, was in their uncivilized " far East." 

The peoples of America and Great Britain were making 
mighty progress in that fine art of mutual understanding, 
which, in the light of the Anglo-American Exposition in 
London in 1914, and the peace-centennial is still in con- 
tinuance. At the banquet of the New England Society in 
New York, which is powerful in nourishing international 
friendship, on December 1, 1850, Sir Henry Bulwer "out- 
shone even American eloquence on American topics." 

85 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

^o the Crystal Palace World's Fair, which was the 
invention or discovery of H. R. H. Prince Albert, the 
United States sent a thousand tons of products of American 
industry, more particularly to get " reciprocity of valuable 
suggestions." The exhibits were loaded on the frigate 
St. Lawrence. 

Millard Fillmore was chairman, and on the committee of 
twent)', besides Eevi Woodbury, were Joseph Force, Joseph 
Henry, J. J. Greenough, Charles Wilkes, W. R. Johnson, 
Jefferson Davis, A. D. Bache, and M. F. Maury. The cen- 
tral authorities sent out circulars. The services of the com- 
missioners were gratuitious. The Government refused to 
pay them anything, or to free them of debt if involved. 
The list of the five hundred exhibitors covers three pages 
of the New York Herald of Feb. 13th. To act as a freighter, 
all except the spar-deck guns of the warship had been taken 
taken out. Her lieutenants were George H. Preble, C. H. 
Boggs, and one other midshipman, Henry Erben, all of 
whom we have since known as admirals. One block of 
zinc from the New Jersey Export and Mining Co. weighed 
16,400 pounds. 

After cargo had been unloaded, the St. Eawrence was or- 
dered to take on the remains of Commodore Paul Jones, 
" the first republican naval officer under General Washing- 
ton ", and then supposed to have been discovered. These, 
however, were found in Paris by General Horace Porter, 
over fifty }'ears later, and early in the twentieth century 
were deposited at Annapolis, receiving permanent repose 
under a glorious monument in January, 1913. 

The Eondon jokesmiths were busy. Punch had a good 
field for the funmakers in the miscellaneous character of 
the Yankee notions and " institutions " visible in the Crys- 
tal Palaces. Indeed, were our people of the twentieth cen- 
tury, able to see that collection of curiosities reproduced, 
they could not look without smiling on that exhibition of 

their fathers in 1851. 

86 



THE YANKEE IN EUROPE 

The Americans, of expansive mind had pre-empted a 
larger space in the Exposition plan they were able to fill, 
and sarcastic comment was made on the vast emptiness in 
the Crystal Palace theoretically covered by the Stars and 
Stripes, but not occupied. A spirit of desolation and bar- 
renness seemed to brood over the unfilled area. As visitors 
were flocking in from abroad, " why not utilize the space, 
which was not one-fourth used, as lodging places? " asked 
the funny men of the quill. Punch said, " The United 
States in the Exhibition are mainly represented by a very 
full grown eagle. In stretch of pinion it assuredly licks 
any live specimen. The gigantic bird soars over next to 
nothing. Why not have here some treasures of America, 
e. g. some choice specimens of slaves ? " 

When on August 22, the yacht America beat the British 
racing boat in the Channel, and won the " Cup of the Na- 
tions," Punch talked gleefully about trans- Atlantic im- 
provement, and of "Yankee Doodle at Cowes." In the 
picture, Punch asks of crying John Bull "Why, Johnny 
what's the matter?" Whereat, John Bull answers " If 
you please, sir, there is a nasty, ugly American been beat- 
ing me." 

Great rollers of wit and sarcasm beat against the statute 
of " the Greek Slave," representing a beautiful young 
woman exposed in her nudity in the open market, by Hiram 
Powers — that pioneer and educative bit of plastic art which 
marked the history of American taste in fine arts, and soon, 
by sinking into oblivion, to be a tide mark. By the English 
critics of 1852, black skin and white marble were con- 
trasted. Americans, unable to see themselves as others see 
them, were blind to the greater anomaly of fettered Pompey 
and Dinah, in the glorious free republic, where four millions 
of Americans were in slavery. Punch said, " We have the 
Greek Captive in dead stone, why not the Virginian slave 
in living ebony ? " A witty poem of " Sambo to the Greek 

87 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Slave," as the black man looked upon the Carrara marble, 
ran ; 

"De niggah free, de minit he touch de English soil 
Him gentleman of colah' now, and not a slave no mo'." 

"The Buffalo Sockdolger" was referred to as proving 
that France is great and England weak. 

Fun or no fun, the " hearts of oak" in freedom-loving 
England were with us. Punch had a noble poem entitled 
" Lines to Brother Jonathan " : 

" In soldier-ridden Christendom the sceptre is the sword, 

The statutes of the nations from the cannon's mouth are roared. 

They hate us, Brother Jonathan, those tyrants they detest, 

The island sons of liberty and freedom of the West. 

They would bend our stiff necks to priestcraft's yoke. 

Stand with me, Brother Jonathan, if ever need should be." 

Punch said further, " As we cannot have a black baby 
show, let us have a black or two stand in manacles, as 
' American manufactures' protected by the American 
eagle." Underneath was a picture illustrating the text and 
giving examples of American products and of slave breed- 
ing farms, where twelve thousand black folks were reared 
annually to be sold farther south in the cotton belt. 

This was the day of American literal piracy, when the 
cheap re-printers, who paid the British author nothing, 
were making fortunes that are enjoyed to this day. Punch 
in 1852, with a pun on William Penn's name, and his cove- 
nant with the Indians, under the old tree at Shackamaxon, 
wrote and pictured "The New Peun Treaty with the 
Americans," urging that " the scissors be buried." In the 
catalogue of the curiosities found inside " the American sea 
serpent," rarest and most wonderful of all, was the check 
book used hy one American publisher for British authors. 

On the whole, this gathering at the Court of Nations was 
a success. The Times said, "The World's Exhibition of 
1851 opened the eyes of the British public to the superiority 



THE YANKEE IN EUROPE 

in some things of other nations. Common sense would 
come to the rescue and there would be improvement in 
English ways." 

As for the Americans, they took many hints, learned 
wisdom, and were spurred on by ambition to beat the British 
in peaceful rivalry. Circulars were soon out for an exhibit 
of the industry of all nations to be held in New York, 
which would make up for American defects in the exhibi- 
tion at Iyondon. A second " Crystal Palace " was erected 
in New York, on the ground between 40th and 42nd streets, 
on Sixth Avenue, now Bryant Park, and opened July 14th, 
1853. Instead of an area of twenty acres, as did the orig- 
inal in Hyde Park, the new structure covered less than five. 
Precautions against fire, in what Townsend Harris, in 
Japan, called "dear, old inflammable New York", were not 
scientific, and shortly afterward, this Manhattan palace of 
iron and glass melted in the flames. 

Yet the new spirit of sympathy with the whole world had 
been awakened in the American heart, and the Centennial 
Exposition in Philadelphia, the Pan-American at Buffalo, 
the White City at Chicago the Louisiana Purchase Exhibi- 
tion at St. Eouis and the Panama- Pacific International Ex- 
position at San Francisco, in 1915, tell eloqdently the west- 
ward story of growth from the good seed planted by Prince 
Albert and watered by President Fillmore. 



CHAPTER XV. 
Our Fla£ In Every Sea. 

In 1914, scarcely a score of ships in foreign commerce 
sailed under the American flag. In 1850, they were seen 
in every sea. The stars and stripes were not then as later, 
a curiosity abroad. 

With a large navy and an army of volunteers, set free 
after the Mexican War, and with nearly two million square 
miles of new territory open to American enterprise, Presi- 
dent Fillmore's work was to give wise outlets to the nation's 
resistless energies. Long pent up between the Alleghenies 
and the Atlantic and living, even in 1850, for the most 
part east of the Mississippi, the Pacific Coast was to our 
American people, an "unoccupied corner of the world." 
Only to a few missionaries and traders had this region, until 
1849, any vital association with American life. 

Asia was still the continent of mystery. "The Old 
World", in common speech, meant Europe. So long fac- 
ing ancestral lands, and dependent upon them for supplies 
and trade, Americans, except a few prophetic souls, thought 
only of the Atlantic Ocean, as the object of their naval 
activities. 

The Pacific slope was a colossal gift to the imagination. 
Oregon and California opened new vistas, furnished new 
frontiers, and gave us an outlook upon Asia. Commerce, 
expanding suddenly and wonderfully, called for a fresh 
outburst of national energy. At the trumpet calls, the 
American people faced about. 

At peace with the world, our large navy was at once 
divided and detailed to grapple with the nobler enterprises 
of peace. Nine surveying expeditions, eight in the Atlantic 
and one in the Pacific, were planned. One hundred and 
eighty thousand men in nearly three million tons of ship- 

90 



OUR FLAG IN EVERY SEA 

ping — numbers then greater than those of any nation in 
the world — were in 1850 massed under the stars and stripes. 

This was the golden age of American commerce and 
naval science. In our era af submarine cables, overland 
wires and wireless communication, less is left to the dis- 
cretion of naval officers abroad, for the Government at 
Washington can in most cases easily communicate with its 
servants on the national ships. In Fillmore's day, much 
had to be entrusted to the judgment of the commanders 
selected for the varied tasks. Many were the independent 
actions of our captains in matters diplomatic and military 
in those days. It was of vital importance, that in every 
case the right man should be placed on the right deck. 

With characteristic energy, Secretary Graham, a man of 
enterprise and initiative, rose to the occasion. With un- 
precedented naval resources at his command, he improved 
his splendid opportunities. He chose Captain Matthew 
Calbraith Perry then in the full momentum of his pro- 
fessional career, for the Japan Expedition. Perry was one 
of the foremost men of intellect and science in the navy. 
In knowledge of men and of nations, in mastery of pro- 
fessional details, in diplomatic ingenuity, in power of 
adaptation, Perry had no superior in the Uniled States 
naval service, then so rich in striking personalities. Both 
war steamers and guns firing shell were at this time com- 
paratively novel. Though many naval officers felt nervous 
when over a boiler, Perry had long before made himself at 
home with both steam and bombs. 

Not so captivating to the popular imagination, but none 
the less prophetic of American mastery of ship architecture, 
of floating fortresses and of ocean problems, were the 
naval inventions and adaptations during the Fillmore ad- 
ministration, when progress was made with men as well as 
with ships. The Japan Expedition under Perry, the first 
American fleet of war- ships ever sent abroad — using the 

91 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

term fleet as meaning at least twelve vessels — went round 
the world without either flogging, or, in its later course, 
at least, the grog ration. This abolition of the twin relics 
of barbarism, the cat and the tot, grew out of the advance 
made in morals and humanity and the enlarged naval ex- 
perience gained during the Mexican War. 

Flogging had been introduced into the American navy in 
1799, when the " cat of nine tails " — " no other cat being 
allowed "—was made the legal instrument of punishment. 
During the fierce debate of 1850, in Congress, over the 
abolition of external and internal stimulants — flogging and 
the grog ration — opposition was especially strong in the 
Senate. Despite Commodore Stockton's powerful plea 
against the disuse of the whip, the vote was carried and the 
use of at least two forms of discipline, so liable to abuse, 
ceased in the naval service. This example was followed, 
next year, in the army. Perry was one of the first temper- 
ance reformers in the Navy. While lieutenant, in a letter 
to the Navy Department dated January 25th, 1824, he had 
endeavored to stop the grog ration for minors, for liquor 
was in those early days served to boys as well as to men. 

All other events, the attempted survey of the Isthmus of 
Panama, the Franklin Relief Expedition, the exploration 
of the Jordan valley, of Bering's Strait, and of the Amazon 
river from source to sea, and the thrilling incidents of Arc- 
tic and Tropical research inaugurated and, for the most 
part, carried out during Fillmore's administration, paled 
before the success of Perry's Japan Expedition. This 
event affected the whole world's welfare and determined 
American policy on the Pacific and in Asia. It affected the 
world at large more than any American event since the 
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. 

The whale was our first pilot to Japan. This " economic 
animal " was hunted for its blubber from the Atlantic into 
the Pacific and beyond Bering's Strait, within the Arctic 

92 



OUR FLAG IN EVERY SEA 

ocean, by hundreds of American sailors. Through storm 
and shipwreck, they found themselves more or less unwill- 
ing guests in Japan. This Asian Euxine, self-called "the 
Hospitable Country," was then a byword among sea-farers 
and nigh unto cursing for its inhospitality. In 1850, 
twenty millions of dollars were invested in the New Bedford 
whaling industry. The assembling, departure and return 
of the whaling fleet made some of the most impressive sights 
in Yankee land. 

The irritation of the American Nimrods of the sea kept 
increasing, because their base of supply and of action were 
so far apart. Compelled to remain to refit in Hawaiian 
ports, so distant from their field of activities, their anger 
flamed at the inhospitality of the forbidden land. 

In 1851, no fewer than one hundred and fifty-one Ameri- 
can whalers lay in Hawaiian ports, far from their cruising 
grounds, because they could obtain no shelter in the ports 
of Japan. The U. S. Brig Preble arrived in New York, 
after a long cruise of four years, with American ship- 
wrecked sailors, who had been kept seventeen months in 
" cages " though this was the native method of transporting 
and holding all incarcerated persons. "No prison strong 
enough to hold them " was the Japanese opinion of these 
waifs— many of them mutineers from their own officers. 
Some of these seamen were very lively and mischievous. 

Highly colored versions of Commodore Glyn's " rescue " 
of these men, after driving his ten-gun brig past "batteries 
of sixty guns on the heights" and of his dramatic appear- 
ance, directly before the city of Nagasaki, were printed in 
the newspapers. When examined in the light of the easily 
accessible and printed records of the Navy Department, the 
whole affair, without reflecting the slightest discredit on a 
gallant officer, is a powerful argument for peace by arbitra- 
tion. As a precedent for aggressive war, or even bluster, 
the Nagasaki incident is beneath contempt. Not the brave 

93 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

officer's own report but the newspapers stories of Glyn's 
'• overawing " the Japanese local governor, of his demand 
for the release of the imprisoned sailors, of his alleged 
coercion of the Japanese, and of his "setting a mark for 
Perry and Dewey ' ' , seems rather like stage thunder, or a 
cheap photo-play, if the part of Mr. Levyssohn, the benevo- 
lent Dutch agent at Nagasaki, is left out. 

As a peacemaker between Japanese and Americans, this 
Dutch gentleman, in a quiet way, helped both to see eye to 
eye, satisfying honor and quickly settling a point at issue 
between civilized men. Nevertheless as a garbled account, 
"cooked up" for thenewspapers.it serves admirably to 
show what mean fuel may serve to get up a devastating 
war-fire. Mr. Levyssohn, returning to Holland during Mr. 
Fillmore's administration, met the American minister at the 
Hague and published a little book (Bladen over Japan) 
which was read in Japan by the native interpreters in 
Perry's fleet. In the long list of mediators between Japan 
and English-speaking people, from Will Adams to Guido 
Verbeck, J. C. Hepburn, J. H. DeForest, William Taft, 
and Daniel Crosby Greene, Levyssohn deserves most hon- 
orable mention. 



94 



CHAPTER XVI. 
Fillmore's Expedition to Japan. 

Millard Fillmore, the real and executive author of the 
Japan Expedition of 1852, liberate- a great stored-up force 
in Asia, for the good of the world. He helped to bring be- 
fore the American people a social and racial problem, that 
is destined to shake the world. The " white man " must 
now descend from his self-exalted throne to consider the 
claims of the intellectual equality of Asiatic men of color. 
The American, spoiled by the experience of red and black 
men — the conquered and enslaved — has, very naturally, 
considered the people of Asia inferior, as a matter of course. 
Now, he is compelled by the men from the Mother-contin- 
ent to think, study, read history and acquaint himself with 
much of which he is ignorant. Neither bluster nor conceit 
can occult the facts. 

Happily between the so-called Occident, which is our 
Modern East, and the Orient, which is our contemporaneous 
West, it has pleased Providence to place the United States, 
one of the greatest crucibles and melting pots known in 
history, and Japan — the epitome and deposit of all Asia and 
the welcomer of things Occidental— between the ancestral 
lands of Europe and the older seats of civilization in Asia. 
The problem set before both countries is the union and 
reconciliation of the East and the West, the Old and the 
New, and for this work, both nations are admirably fitted. 
The American people is a composite of many races. The 
Japanese are made up of four of the strong races of history, 
Aryan, Semitic, Malay and Tartar. 

It is a common superstition, growing out of the colossal 
conceit of the average American, that Commodore Perry 
virtually created the New Japan. The scholar knows that 
the naval officer simply touched the electric button that set 
the interior machinery going. 

95 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

All American or other attempts to unbar the gates of 
hermit Japan would have been in vain, except for the 
previous native intellectual preparation of a century or 
more. The new mind, created within, insured the Ameri- 
can Commodore's success far more than his ships, cannon, 
or personal diplomacy. 

This century-old internal movement of philosophy, his- 
tory and scholarship, to say nothing of the political martyr- 
dom of far-seeing spirits, called " Dutch students", looked 
to the exaltation of Japan to her true place of equality 
among civilized nations. These were definitely committed 
to the policy of foreign intercourse, and this party was 
Perry's true ally. Vulgar American conceit will probably 
long ascribe Japan's awakening wholly to the apparition of 
the American ships ; but, all research shows that Japan 
was reformed by native more than by foreign genius. 
That Perry acted with consummate skill and address, can- 
not be doubted, even as we have already told in his biog- 
raphy, and in our writings of forty years.* 

Secretary William Graham was the first person in an 
official position, who, if authorized to do anything in pro- 
motion of the Japan enterprise, was able to act. In his 
report, which the President transmitted with his message 
to Congress, in December 1850, Graham called the atten- 
tion of the Government to the advantages of opening 
Japan. Mr. Fillmore warmly seconded the proposal and 
Japan received mention, for the first time, in a presidential 
document. In Mr. Fillmore's third annual message, Dec. 
6, 1852, a handsome tribute is paid to the friendly assist- 
ance of the Dutch King William II, who in 1845, na d 



*The Mikado's Empire, 1876-1912 ; Japan : in History, Folk-lore 
and Art, 1898 ; Matthew Calbraith Perry, Boston, 1887 ; The Japanese 
Nation in Evolution, New York, 1907 ; and the biographies of the 
four great American teachers, Verbeck, Brown, Williams, Hepburn, 
who first mastered the Japanese language made the apparatus of 
study, and gave a total service to Japan ( 1859-1911 ) of over 150 years. 



FILLMORE'S EXPEDITION TO JAPAN 

earnestly advised the Shogun in Yedo, to open Japan's 
doors peacefully to the Americans. Millard Fillmore was 
thus in advance of the average American citizen and mag- 
istrate of his day, with whom generosity in awarding credit 
to Europeans was not conspicuous. The President's orders 
to Perry meant firmness without concealment of the true 
objects, — rescue, fuel, commerce, the enrichment of Cali- 
fornia and America, and the future prosperity and peaceful 
opening of an Asiatic state. 

This proposal to invite an Oriental Empire to enter into 
the world's market place, excited great attention in Europe. 
Great Britain had led hitherto in playing the role of Ali 
Baba. The sight of a yonng nation, of like speech and 
ideas, attempting to imitate and even surpass the pioneer, 
awakened the keenest interest of the London journals. 
Punch and his corps of rhymesmiths and the makers of 
jokes in prose and verse, kept themselves busy in diffusing 
good humor. They were somewhat less flippant, and fully 
as intelligent, in treating the whole subject as were most 
of the American newspapers of 1852. 

Kossuth and Japan were rival subjects for editorial pens. 
Some newspapers clamored that our " fleet " should go to 
Austria, instead of Japan. With the exception however, 
of one or two of Kossuth's "penny organs," the expedi- 
tion to the Orient was approved. One Manhattan literary 
volcano threw out this literary scoria : "In these days 
nothing but bombshells and bayonets will reclaim the 
pagans of Japan. Let the gallant Commodore hurry up 
the good work. Brethren let us pray. . . . Our aggres- 
sions and conquests of the Pacific coast are beginning. 
Sooner or later these besotted Oriental nations must come 
out from their barbarous seclusion and wheel into the 
ranks of civilization. . . Like the English in India, let 
us take the Pacific Islands, group by group, advance to 
Japan and meet in Shanghai. The Anglo-Saxons are 

7 97 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

masters of the world." In this rhetoric, the same deviltry 
that still animates alike the pirate, the burglar, and some 
editors, was as rampant then as now. 

The novelty of conditions, following on the heels of the 
deceitful prosperity induced by successful war, intoxicated 
journalists. With fifteen hundred weekly newspapers and 
twenty thousand miles of electric wires, our people had no 
lack of excitement. " What would it be," said one, "to 
hear of a great American naval victory off the coast of 
Japan ten days before election ! " It is both amusing and 
tragic to see how wars are gotten up by interested parties 
and then covered with the American flag. 

English newspapers spoke of ' ' the mysterious naval ex- 
pedition to the Asiatic seas." "The great Atlantic Re- 
public was about to come into collision with the Empire of 
Japan." The story of the greatly exaggerated " Amboyna 
massacre," by Dutch and Japanese, in the seventeenth 
century, which had served Charles Stuart and his perfidious 
ministers and the piratical Duke of York, in 1664, to 
manufacture public opinion among Englishmen and 
Yankees, for the conquest of New Netherland was revived. 
Now, made to do duty again, it served for more or less in- 
telligent British editorial comment. 

English editors recalled that "Japanese were once 
employed as sepoys (sic) in peninsular Asia." Japan was 
described as having an area of 266,000 square miles and 
a population of 30,000,000 souls — both statements being 
exaggerations. Arm-chair strategists warned the Com- 
modore that the Japanese were assailable by their coasts 
alone. There were no great rivers in Japan, by which in- 
vaders could penetrate the country. "The redress 
squadron" must not quit its wooden walls, behind which 
the Americans were impregnable. To advance inward 
would mean inevitable perdition. 

Funniest of all was Punch's poem, on "The American 



FILLMORE'S EXPEDITION TO JAPAN 

Crusaders", expressed in what was supposed to be the 
American-English language. 

" We histes the stars and stripes 
To go agin Japan, 
All to protect our mariners 
The gallant Perry sails, 
Our free enlightened citizens 
A-cruisin' arter whales 
Who being tossed upon their shores 
By stormy winds and seas, 
Is wuss than niggers used by them 
Tarnation Japanese. 

We shant sing out to pattern saints 

Nor gals, afore we fights, 

Like when they charged the Saracens, 

Did them benighted knights, 

But " Exports to the resky, ho " 

And "Imports" we will cry, 

And pitch the shell or draw the bead 

Upon the enemy. 

We'll teach them unsocial coons 

Exclusiveness to drop, 

And stick the hand of welcome out 

And open wide their shop ; 

And fust I hope we shant be forced 

To whip 'em into fits, 

And chew the savage loafers right 

Up into little bits." 

The day of seventy-four gun-ships, when the efficacy of 
a fleet depended upon the number of its holes in the hull 
had passed; but, as Punch said, " Perry must open the 
Japanese ports, even if he had to open his own." The 
United States "were now to enact the same gunpowder 
drama that England had played in China ", etc., etc. 

From our side, the causes of the Japan expedition were 
the whale, coal, California, the return of native waifs, the 
rescue of American sailors, commerce, Christianity, and the 

99 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

desire to spread American ideas. Back of these were the 
John Quincy Adams resolution of 1819, the Monroe Doc- 
trine, and the eloquence of William H. Seward. More than 
all else were the prayers of Christian people begun long 
before. 

On the Japanese side, were the revival of learning, the 
native scholars in the Dutch language, the schools of un- 
orthodox and especially the Oyomei philosophy, critical 
history, with other interior preparations, conscious or un- 
conscious. Thanks to the self-exiled teacher, Ronald Mc- 
Donald, who began at Nagasaki, in 1846, to teach English, 
a score of Japanese could read and talk English, before 
Americans or British could talk, or peruse a book in 
Japanese. No English-speaking person, in 1853, could read 
a Japanese book of the first class. Dr. Samuel Wells 
Williams, of Canton, China, from seawaifs and fisherman 
had learned a little of the Nippon colloquial and could 
understand Chinese texts and a few easy printed Japanese 
books. 

At Kurihama, where now the gold-lettered granite me- 
morial shaft, inscribed by Ito and subscribed to by Multsu- 
hito the Great, rises in Perry Park, our Commodore had a 
discussion about morals with Professor Hayashi of Yedo, 
but the best points in the treaty of Yokohama, in 1853, 
were suggested by the missionary, Dr. S. Wells Williams. 
Perry won, only in ethical and social matters. The subject 
of American trade or residence in the Mikado's Empire was 
not even mentioned. This latter triumph in diplomacy was 
not gained, until a few years later by the New York mer- 
chant, Townsend Harris. Building on Perry's precedents, 
but without a gun, a ship, or a man, but telling always the 
truth, he routed the liars in the pay of a rotten system of 
deceit, and won all his points, as has been shown in his 
biography. Not, however, until 1868, did the treaties bear 
the signature of the Mikado, or true emperor. 

100 



FILLMORE'S EXPEDITION TO JAPAN 

The political situations of the Americans and the Jap- 
anese, in 1850, when compared, show striking analogies. 
Divided Japan, under the feudal regime was relatively much 
like the contemporaneous American Union, which in one- 
half, the South, held to a sort of belated feudalism, and on 
the whole was a federal, but hardly a national, republic. 
In both countries, the old order was about to pass away, 
and a new world of ideas and institutions — as yet discerned 
only by men of prophetic vision — was dawning. To those 
who could see the new day coming, the morning sky was 
already flaming. Both nations were on the eve of a tre- 
mendous upheaval, which was to alter the map of the world. 
In the American Union were twenty-five millions of freemen 
and three millions of slaves. Of Japan's twenty-eight 
millions, twenty-four millions were semi-serfs, and one 
million were outcasts. The "balance of power" in 
America, until California obtained statehood, was between 
free and slave states. In Japan, it was between the Mikado 
and Shogun. In the United States, the notions of ten 
million living in semi-feudalism, on slave land, were 
medieval. A man in the sectional republic was less an 
American, than a Mississippian or a Vermonter. The cen- 
tral Government was weak. The idea of loyalty to his 
State, and not to the Nation, dominated the mind of the 
Southerner. So, also, in Japan, it was the clan or province, 
not the Empire. A native was a Satsuma man, or an Aidzu 
retainer, rather than a Japanese. Localism and sectional- 
ism were the ruling ideas in both countries. In the Jap- 
anese archipelago the South was progressive, the North 
conservative, even to reaction. 

In both lands, good men must suffer and fall with the 
vicious systems whose destruction was to open new vistas 
to white, black, and brown humanity. A military despo- 
tism in Yedo and rival clans in the sections dominated the 
land, but an approaching economic struggle, not essentially 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

different from that between the industrial North and the 
agricultural South, in America, was for Japan "the im- 
pending crisis ". Steadily the central government in Yedo 
was weakening and the local powers were increasing. In 
the civil wars, of 1861 and 1868, following long contro- 
versies, local ties often bound a man, even against his 
conscience, to take up arms with his fellow clansmen or 
neighbors, against the central Government. 

Both nations, after a bloody civil war, were to have " a 
new birth of freedom"; for in neither country, now, does 
slavery, serfage, or pariahism exist. With the names of 
Lincoln and of Mutsuhito, in the same list of emancipators, 
both nations are now in the van of freedom and equally 
eager for the advance of civilization. In the hall of fame, 
wherein shine the names of those who have helped to unite 
the Orient and the Occident, that of Millard Fillmore holds 
a shining place. 

In December, 1873, tne ex-President, addressing the 
Buffalo Historical Society, on the Japan Expedition of 1853, 
declared that the facts concerning shipwrecked American 
sailors on the coasts of Japan were presented in the Cabinet 
meeting. " All the resolutions adopted were in full Cabinet 
council, in which there was no difference of opinion but 
the fullest accord". Fillmore's orders were peremptory 
to Commodore Perry, to use no violence unless he were 
attacked. He despatched sufficient force, so that the show 
of power might be deemed a persuader in procuring a 
treaty. He fully justified his order to Perry commanding 
him to defend himself against violence. The Commodore 
was cautioned against doing anything offensive, but he was 
fully authorized, in the event of being attacked by the 
Japanese — as contrasted with the peremptory orders of non- 
resistance, given to Commodore Biddle — to use the power 
of the Government in repelling hostilities and to satisfy the 
jealous islanders that they were dealing with a Power com- 
petent and willing to protect its own. 



FILLMORE'S EXPEDITION TO JAPAN 

In a word, the Japanese did not seek us. We sought 
them, and, almost by main force, dragged them out of 
their seclusion, in order to win their trade and enrich Cali- 
fornia and the United States. After we had taken their 
gold out of the country, and as soon as we gained their 
secrets, of tea, silk, ceramics, and what not, we built up 
tariffs against them. Then, when they had shown them- 
selves not "yellow monkeys", or anthropological curiosi- 
ties, but real men, bred in a civilization worthy of all 
respect and able to humble Russia, American sentiment 
changed. The unintelligent mob, the selfish manufacturer 
and land owner and the labor unions that raise the shout 
" America for Americans " — in foreign accents — are quite 
ready even to violate treaties, in order to keep out these 
temperate and industrious people. Even in certain quar- 
ters where commercial varieties of Christianity rule, these 
people are quite approved, when reckoned as objects of 
trade, or as missionary converts, but rejected when practical 
brotherhood is proposed. 

It is well to recall, in this twentieth century, the kindly 
and sincere words of our President Millard Fillmore to 
" His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Japan," in 1852. 

"Great and good friend. . . I entertain the kindest 
feelings towards your majesty's person and government, 
and . . . I have no other object in sending . . . to Japan, 
but to propose to your imperial majesty that the United 
States and Japan should live in friendship and have com- 
mercial intercourse with each other. . . May the Almighty 
have your imperial majesty in His great and holy keeping." 

These are Fillmore's own words, given in all sincerity 
and truth. In their spirit, Perry, Harris, Seward, Lincoln 
and the great army of teachers, advisers and helpers in 
government service in Japan and the servants of the 
Japanese, for Christ's sake, the missionaries, from 1859 to 
the present hour, have lived and acted. Will Americans 
reverse this noble record ? Shall they not rather live up 
to the spirit of their first motives and of the early treaties ? 

103 



CHAPTER XVII. 
The Monroe Doctrine and the Filibusters. 

No doctrine is safe from caricature at the hands of its 
interpreters, or from distortion in the lives of its exemplars. 
Even divine truth becomes impish folly in the hands of 
men. Man and the ape are scarcely wider apart than are 
reality and its counterfeits. In American history the 
Monre Doctrine, created when Britain and America struck 
hands together for freedom, grandly conceived, gloriously 
illustrated, destined in the end, doubtless, to win the re- 
spect and even the praise of humanity, has suffered in this 
way. More than once the filibuster, the unscrupulous 
money-maker, or the disguised robber, who calls himself a 
colonist, has made it the world's laughingstock. 

In Fillmore's day the Monroe Doctrine was made yoke- 
fellow with both "manifest destiny" and the fanaticism 
of slavery propagation. The resultant was a three-fold 
storm. The enormous territory wrested from Mexico 
bloated the pride of those who had provoked that war for 
an avowed purpose. Misgovernment in Cuba and the 
West Indian states offered a field of enterprise alluring to 
the filibuster, as tempting as it was boundless. 

The cool-headed and calculating men, ready to exploit 
any rich land for the sake of its wealth, stayed at home, 
making tools of others, who had puritanical notions of 
"God-given rights to white men" and the "divine 
service" of extending black slavery. The ancient trade 
of Cortez and Pizarro, and of the British buccaneers, 
Morgan and James, Duke of York, was continued, in true 
succession, in sub-tropical America, by such men as 
Quitman, L,opez and Walker. At those who carried on 
their activities during Fillmore's administration, we shall 
glance. 

104 



MONROE DOCTRINE AND THE FILIBUSTERS 

Cuba was the coveted object of American greed. In the 
tempestuous oratory of this era, the conquests of Moses, 
Joshua, Saul and David were cited as inspiring examples of 
the successful marauder. 

The triumph, in Texas, of a raid of filibusters, disguised 
under the name of colonists, gave the great precedent of 
success. Then in 1840- 1848, all parties agreeing, Mexico 
was invaded and despoiled. The idea underlying this war 
of rapine became a breeding ground for filibustering expe- 
ditions. These were notably numerous from 1850 to 1861. 

Of about the same area, each with an amazingly fertile 
soil, and in nearly the same latitude, though almost antipo- 
dal on the earth's surface, and both under foreign masters, 
Cuba and Java afforded a striking contrast. Under en- 
lightened rulers, just laws, and wise economical measures, 
over thirty millions of Javanese live in peaceful content and 
thriving prosperity. In Cuba, under governors, who were 
but belated conquestadors, and a rule of injustice, cruelty, 
torture and bloodshed, with much of the land lying waste, 
scarcely two million human beings were able to exist. The 
apostles of slavery in the United States, who wished to ex- 
tend the area of what was then preached as a divine " insti- 
tution," had therefore a showy and plausible pretext. 
With this they disguised other and more selfish motives, 
when resolving to possess the " Pearl of the Antilles." 

On his own initiative and without the knowledge of Con- 
gress, President Polk had, in 1848, instructed the American 
minister in Spain to offer $100,000,000 for Cuba. The 
offer was curtly and promptly rejected, without thanks. 
About the same time, Narciso Lopez, living in the island, 
had turned to the usual recourse of the soldier of fortune 
and become a revolutionist. President Taylor checkmated 
his first attempt at invasion, but by May, 1850, having 
gathered 610 men in New Orleans, under his banner, he 
slipped away in the steamer Creole. He landed in Cuba, 
but met with no support and came ingloriously away. 

105 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

These were the days when undrained Havana, glittering 
even in her filth, furnished almost an annual epidemic of 
cholera, or yellow fever, to the United States, which repaid 
the island with piratical expeditions in the interests of 
slavery extension. 

President Fillmore's proclamation against another attempt 
of the same sort made by Lopez, in the steamer Pampero, 
is dated April 25th, 1851. Sending two men-of-war to the 
Cuban coast to intercept the invaders, he issued new powers 
to the collectors and marshals at all the Atlantic and Gulf 
ports, enjoining vigilance also upon the district attorneys 
at these places. All United States officers absent from 
home were ordered to return and prevent expeditions from 
being fitted out. Orders were given to the Army and Navy, 
wherever there were troops or vessels, to be ready for 
service. 

From May 13th to 21st, the President and his Cabinet 
were in New York State attending the formal opening of 
the Erie Railroad, which connected the great lakes with the 
ocean. 

Lopez had collected in Louisiana about six hundred men 
and boys, many of them of good family, promising each one 
of them five thousand dollars apiece. This sum was to be 
paid when the Cuban plantations had been seized and the 
financial basis found for the " bonds of the Cuban Re- 
public." Costing from three to twenty cents on a dollar, 
these products of the printing press appealed to the specu- 
lative instinct, and many Americans invested in the promised 
castles in New Spain. Cubans in the United States led the 
ignorant and necessitous to enlist, but they themselves kept 
at home. Those who sent the ships and printed the bonds 
hoped that their copper mite would come back into their 
pockets as gold unalloyed. 

The command of this expedition was offered first to 
Jefferson Davis and then to Capt. Robert E. Lee, U. S. A. 

106 



MONROE DOCTRINE AND THE FILIBUSTERS 

Declined by both, it was given by designing politicans and 
professional war-makers to Lopez, who had already sunk 
all his means in two previous attempts. New Orleans was 
full of adventurers to choose from and the complement was 
easily made up. Most of those who enlisted were boys. 
The ship would hold no more. Crittenden, the commander, 
next to Lopez, was a graduate of West Point, who had re- 
signed his colonelcy in the army to lead this motley band, 
which sailed in the steamer Pampero, August 3, 185 1. 

Four thousand Spanish troops garrisoned Cuba. These 
watchdogs of war had teeth to bite with. It would be no 
child's play to face their fire. 

President Fillmore had planned to get a few days of sum- 
mer rest at the White Sulphur Springs, in Virginia, hoping 
to return to Washington on August 30th. The Lopez ex- 
pedition broke up his plans, and he returned in haste to 
his desk. The cabinet was scattered, but he ordered the 
war-ship Saranac to Havana, to inquire into the facts, re- 
moved the federal officer at New Orleans, and wrote, both 
confidentially and officially, to the Secretary of State, then 
at his home in Marshfield, Mass. The gist of the Presi- 
dent's directions was — " Follow Washington's example, as 
in the case of France." Not having yet heard as to the 
whereabouts of the Pampero, he left for the north and 
spent six days, from September 16th to 22nd in New 
England, with two members of his cabinet, Conrad and 
Stuart. 

The story of the filibusters of 1851 is a short one, for 
their race was quickly run. Lopez landed fifty miles 
southwest of Havana, August 12th, and went forward 
with 325 men to Las Pasas. Colonel Crittenden, with 150 
men, was left to guard the baggage. Met by a Spanish 
detachment of from five to eight hundred soldiers, Lopez 
and his forces were scattered. Having fled to the 
mountains, he was taken and met his death bravely. 

107 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Crittenden and his force were also captured. Of these, 
fifty were ordered to execution and one hundred and sixty 
two were sent to Spain to forced labor in the mines. The 
fifty Americans with Lopez' following condemned to be 
shot, were given time and facilities to write farewells to 
friends at home. This opportunity they improved diligent- 

ly. 

When the vessel bearing this mail reached New Orleans, 
a rumor flew round the city that the letters had been de- 
tained at the Spanish consulate. A mob collected, stormed 
the building, smashed the furniture and tore into strips 
both the Spanish flag and portraits of Spain's sovereign, 
thus adding one more blot to America's fame as a land of 
law. 

Don A. Calderon de la Barca, the Spanish envoy, made 
complaint, to the United States Government, of the insult 
to his country and asked for reparation. In a private 
letter to Mr. Webster, he hoped that some public act of 
honor could be done to the flag of Spain. The draft of 
Mr. Webster's reply was not made ready until November 
4th, and official answer was delayed until November 13th. 
It was a noble document, conciliatory and frank. In it a 
distinction was made between what was governmental and 
what personal. The Spanish flag would be saluted with 
honor and apology and regrets be tendered to the Spanish 
Government ; but for individual loss or damage, redress 
must be sought according to the usual procedure in the 
courts. A handsome appropriation, to renumerate the 
Spanish consul and his nationals, was promptly made by 
Congress, and every promise, in the powder, ink, and money 
of our government, was fulfilled. 

Anxious about the condition of the misguided lads of the 
Lopez expedition, now at hard labor in the mines of Spain, 
Mr. Fillmore on November 26th, 1851, dictated a letter to 
Mr. Barringer, our minister, asking the Government of 

108 



MONROE DOCTRINE AND THE FILIBUSTERS 

Madrid for the return of these expatriated Americans. He 
offered meanwhile, in case of their need of suffering, to 
furnish food, clothing, or help. 

This wise and tactful letter was well received at Madrid 
and word was soon received at the State Department that 
release had been made. Ninety of the boys, who had fol- 
lowed Lopez and had found other structures than castles, 
in Spain, were "repatriated", lauding in New York in 
February, 1852. Others were returned later. 

One good turn deserves another. This precedent was 
fertile in later results. In 1898, Cervera and his sailors, 
with the Spanish troops taken by our army and navy, were 
" repatriated " by President McKinley, who, in so many of 
his finer qualities, was like Fillmore. Yet some of our 
countrymen, as ignorant as conceited, gave out this as an 
original American idea first put into practice in 1898. 

Thus the thirteenth President nobly saved the Monroe 
Doctrine when it was fast degenerating into filibusterism. 

Europe was thrown into excitement by the Lopez raid. 
The governments of France, Spain, and Great Britain pre- 
pared a plan to guarantee Cuba to Spain. They proposed 
it to the United States in all friendliness, but Mr. Fillmore, 
whose Americanism was ever sane and balanced, thought 
this scheme ill advised. " Any attempts, to prevent such 
expeditions, by British cruisers must necessarily involve a 
right of search into our whole mercantile marine in those 
seas, thus endangering the friendly relations. ... It 
might take a few years, but in the end, with the encourage- 
ment derived from the free institutions of the United States, 
Cuba would either be free from Spanish rule, or annexed 
to the United States". 

For a decade or more, the determination of slave holders 
to extend their domain, whether iu Cuba, Mexico, or other 
warm lands, or islands continued. Cool-headed Americans 
wanted "no more ebony additions to the republic" and 

109 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

looked askance upon those ' ' evanescent republics ' ' which 
filibusters from the United States, from time to time, at- 
tempted to set up. The political atmosphere was then 
overcharged with " Manifest Destiny " and out of it, other 
flashes like lightning issued to startle the world. 

In 1850 there was a Lone Star Association, and the 
policy of a party, avowed in the " manifest destiny" idea, 
was to seize all of Mexico and the Spanish American 
countries, in order to extend slavery. American imitators 
of Pizarro and Cortez were ready to "do God's will" as 
they interpreted it. 

Two American clipper ships, the Gamecock and the 
Witch of the Wave, at San Francisco, sailed with 300 vol- 
unteers on board, in October, to seize, as was supposed, 
the Sandwich Islands. 

The most famous of the filibustering expeditions was 
organized secretly during the last days of Fillmore's ad- 
ministration, in California, which was then remote and 
beyond the speedy action from Washington. William 
Walker, ex-lawyer and journalist, of Louisiana, desired to 
found an independent state, wherein slavery of the blacks 
would be unrestricted, and the " God-given rights of the 
white man " denied to none possessing the orthodox hue 
of cuticle. He made Mexico and Lower California the 
object of his invasion. With forty-five men, he landed at 
Cape St. Lucas, at the extreme point of Lower California. 
Sailing a few miles further, he captured the town of the 
same name, made the Governor a prisoner and established 
a "Republic", with himself as President. He proclaimed 
the people free of the tyranny of Mexico. Whether they 
liked it or not, the natives were compelled to be "inde- 
pendent" and "republican". 

Three hundred adventurers from all lands enlisted as 
"emigrants," and sailing in the bark Anita, from Cali- 
fornia, reinforced Walker in November, 1852. Finding 



MONROE DOCTRINE AND THE FILIBUSTERS 

their commander to be a boyish-looking man of thirty-one, 
they became insubordinate and plotted against him. After 
trying a few ring-leaders and shooting them, Walker, with 
fewer than one hundred followers, marched up the peninsula, 
in order to Reach Sonora. The Mexicans, now roused to 
wrath, pursued, ambuscaded, shot, lassoed, and tortured 
the invaders of their soil, until Walker had but thirty-five 
men left. At bay, on the border, they turned upon the 
Mexican troops, fired a murderous volley and then, stagger- 
ing across the boundary line, surrendered to the United 
States soldiers. 

Years afterwards, prowling Indians or peon herdsmen, in 
the mountain paths, stumbled over bleaching skeletons 
marked by no cross or cairn. In each case a rusty Colt's 
revolver, beside the bones, bespoke the country and the 
occupation of the invader. 

Walker was tried at San Francisco and acquitted. He 
immediately began to fulfil his "mission" elsewhere. Of 
his enterprises in Nicaraugua and in Honduras, where he 
was shot as a criminal, it is not our province to write. In 
history, Doubleday and Roche, and in fiction, Davis, have 
told the story of the bold fanatics. The novelist is espec- 
ially clever in showing how revolutions in Central and South 
America are often engineered by capitalists, usually citizens 
of the United States, in order to fill their own purses. The 
war-makers, in the L,and of the Almighty Dollar, have the 
same object in view as those in haste to get rich in all times 
and on all continents. If not England or Germany, Japan 
must serve as the occasion and means of making money, by 
embroiling our Government in war. 

Walker might have " solved the problem of slavery, have 
established an empire in Mexico and in Central America 
and, incidentally, brought us into war with all of Europe," 
but like so many old world notions, tried on the soil of the 
new world, such devil-work was fore-doomed to failure. 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

The attempts of Americans to perpetuate the trade of the 
conquestadors, such as Spain had sent out in the sixteenth 
century — as in every similar enterprise of forcing monarchy 
upon the unwilling peoples of the western world — were sure 
to miscarry. Whatever be the pretext — "God's will," 
" the divine institution," of slavery, "manifest destiny," 
" Anglo-Saxon ideas " or other subterfuge— these outrages 
upon humanity do but mask human cupidity. If American 
history teaches anything, it is that our continent is no 
place in which to revamp the wornout and rejected ideas of 
Europe, even when they are conjured up under other names. 
Our young republic is no Abishag to keep moribund 
kings alive. If, in the experience of humanity, civilization 
has cast aside certain methods of barbarism, much more 
will the advancing race in America demand loyal adherence 
to proved ideals of justice, while it condemns everything 
that belongs to the lower stages of evolution. History re- 
fuses to repeat herself. In the right interpretation of the 
Monroe Doctrine, ' ' with charity for all and malice to none, ' ' 
there are now no Republicans or Democrats, but only one 
great united American People. Gratitude to Millard Fill- 
more is our just and joyous debt. It is for the American 
people to see that neither foreign juntas on our soil, nor 
hot-headed patriots or aliens, nor money-makers anxious 
for war-contracts, shall ever degrade this noble doctrine to 
sordid ends and satanic purposes. 



CHAPTER XVIII 
National Honor. The Canal and the Treaties. 

The relations between the United States and Great Britain, 
very severely strained during three of the administrations 
preceding, were, during Mr. Fillmore's term of office, 
sympathetic and friendly. 

Sir Henry Bulwer, the British Minister, author, and 
older brother of the famous novelist, Bulwer- Lytton, came 
to Washington in November, 1850. He had "impres- 
sions ", which he wrote out. Webster was then 68 ; Clay 
73 ; Everett 56. These men around Fillmore, all born in 
the eighteenth century, had touched a former world and 
remembered it. In contrast, " Fillmore, at fifty-one, was 
the youngest president thus far in office." Webster had 
" eyes set in caverns ". Everett was a prig and a rather 
solemn American. In a hall, crowded with more or less 
rowdyish persons, Bulwer saw the audience in sobs, as 
Webster spoke of the Pilgrims' landing at Plymouth in 
1620. 

Of the state political opinion and of general culture, this 
Englishman wrote : "All tremendous Tories in the South, 
and the general mind there what it might have been under 
the Georges ". The United States were interesting — " rail- 
way trains smashing, steamboats blowing up, banks break- 
ing", yet the go-ahead Yankeeism has achieved in a few 
years a position not very inferior to that which we have 
been for centuries acquiring. . . . The women are the 
oligarchy of this country. . . . The cleverest fellow is 
only 'the husband of the charming Mrs. So and So'". 

The real bone of contention between Great Britain and 
the United States was Nicaragua. This, a narrow land 
between oceans, promised to furnish the prize for which the 
centuries waited — a short route to the Orient. 

8 113 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Rich in gold, mosquitoes, mongrel humanity and varied 
natural resources, somewhat larger than Ohio, Nicaragua 
touched both oceans. Columbus looked at one of its points, 
but Davila, in 1522, sailing in quest of the Spice Islands, 
found an Indian chief named Nicaragua, who was quickly 
"converted", with 9,017 of his followers to "Christian- 
ity". All these hopeful proselytes were " baptized " in 
one day ! Even thus early, Davila learned that, with lake 
and river, there was an easy way from sea to sea. The 
tradition of the Nicaraguan ship canal, about which whole 
libraries of description, diplomacy and engineering have 
been written, and in the prospecting and surveying of 
which, fortunes have been sunk, was thus, in 1522, estab- 
lished. After three centuries of Spanish rule, there was in 
1822 a revolution, which issued in independence. 

At this time, Great Britain's "sphere of influence " took 
in Nicaragua, and the people of Balize, or British Honduras, 
" crowned " the " king" or chief of the Mosquito Indians, 
who in due time claimed the land on both sides of the river 
San Juan del Norte, which would be part of the canal. 
Seizing this place at the river's mouth, the British in 1847 
called it Greytown and in a treaty with Nicaragua, this 
occupation was recognized. 

American "Manifest Destiny" and British jingoism be- 
ing both in the air at this time, and Polk and Palmerston 
being twins in mental make-up, there was likely to, be a 
collision. 

It looked to us Americans as if the British action was a 
blow struck purposely at the Monroe Doctrine. It was 
interpreted as the gauntlet flung down in challenge of the 
American control of the canal. Eager to flaunt the starry 
flag before the British lion, Mr. E. D. Squires, our agent 
drew up a treaty with Nicaragua, guaranteering its sover- 
eignty against the Mosquito ' ' King ' ' , who was the Briton's 
stalking-horse, for which, in return, the United States was 

114 



NATIONAL HONOR. CANAL AND THE TREATIES 

to fortify the mouth of the proposed canal. Such a treaty, 
carried out in details, meant instant war with Great Britain 
and possibly other European Powers. The British and 
American seizures, in Central America and in California, 
took place at about the same time. Both nations, suspic- 
ious of each other's purposes, were angrily awaiting the 
next move. 

Though President Taylor's course was conciliatory, mu- 
tual distrust made the question a hot one, even while nego- 
tiations went on. Two war-ships with soldiers were sent 
by Great Britain to occupy an island near the expected 
terminal. To block the British scheme, our envoy E. D. 
Squires, obtained a temporary cession of Tigre Island. 
Thereupon, the British naval forces seized this bit of real 
estate " for debt." 

At once popular indignation in the United States rose to 
white heat. The Secretary of State, John M. Clayton, 
fearing that his diplomatic hand would be forced, pushed 
forward the Anglo-American treaty, which was signed 
April 19th, 1851, and ratified in the Senate, by a vote of 
42 to 11. 

Does it ever pay to suppress the truth, or to lie ? 

In this treaty, the points at issue were not clearly de- 
fined. Lord Palmerston wrote to Bulwer, declaring that 
Great Britain would interpret the treaty as not applying to 
Honduras "or its dependencies" (which included Mos- 
quitia, then ruled by " His Mosquito Majesty "). Clayton 
supposing that this phrase of three words referred only to 
the islands. Confident in his own statesmanship, which 
was intended to satisfy both governments, be made conceal- 
ment of Palmerston's express declaration. The treaty was 
therefore accepted and ratifications were exchanged, five 
days before President Taylor died. As afterwards clearly 
revealed, the United States had pledged themselves not to 
occupy any position in Central America, while on the other 

"5 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

hand Great Britain retained control of the entire eastern 
coast of Nicaraugua ! Here was a first class diplomatic 
victory for Great Britain! Verily "honesty is the best 
policy ", Concealment of the truth is ever dangerous. 

The Fillmore administration entered upon this inheri- 
tance of menace and danger and the grave reality was soon 
made plain. Neither Power was satisfied and neither would 
yield the point at issue. The British bull dog held on. 
Greytown was re-occupied and the Mosquito protectorate 
again proclaimed. The Monroe Doctrine received a fresh 
blow and a door was opened for more trouble. 

In November 1851, the American ship Prometheus, loaded 
with tools and supplies for the men working on the Tehu- 
huantepec Canal, refusing to pay dues at Greytown, was 
pursued and fired on by the British man-of-war Express. 
When the news reached Washington, the Senate at once 
ordered President Fillmore to demand redress from Great 
Britain. Lord Palmerston, bluff lover of fair play, at once 
disallowed the act of Her Majesty's man-of-war, but the 
real root of bitterness still existed. 

Meanwhile, English capitalists started to build a ship 
railway across the Isthmus, and in August, 1852, the 
British forces reoccupied the Bay Islands, on the northern 
end of Nicaragua, formerly part of Balize. At once the 
flames of jealousy were rekindled in the United States. 

Clayton had shirked the point at issue and the result was 
a host of troubles. Nearly fifty years of disturbance and 
irritation followed, nearly wrecking cabinets and adminis- 
trations. Not until the twentieth century was the burning 
question quenched. Then, the Americans, in 1904, ac- 
quired virtual control of the Isthmus of Panama. Nica- 
ragua was henceforth left like an old post road after the 
introduction of railways — until a fresh outburst of chronic 
troubles in 1909. It will probably yet have an interoceanic 
canal. 

116 



NATIONAL HONOR. CANAL AND THE TREATIES. 

The Clayton-Bulwer treaty was intended as a bar to 
monopoly. It is easy, now, to stigmatize it as "the most 
serious diplomatic mistake in our history ". Such a judg- 
ment smacks of " wisdom after the event ". At that time, 
designed to bar either nation from monopoly, the treaty 
was a most honorable withdrawal, by both parties, from 
positions calculated to generate war. The canal was to be 
for all nations. In 1852, the Americans were more anxious 
about British "encroachments" than for the ownership of 
of a canal. Our government "desired the compact as a 
bulwark against British greed". During the fifty-one 
years of the life of the treaty, this was the American atti- 
tude, for more than half the time. 

Later the Americans, changing their tune, wished to 
abrogate and even threatened to denounce the treaty. The 
Hay-Pauncefote treaty, ratified December 16th, 1901, 
settled the matter for a second time. In 1904, the cession 
of the Panama Canal Zone set aside the whole Nicaraguan 
question. It is to be noted that in the Clayton-Bulwer 
treaty, both Powers agreed not to erect or maintain any 
fortification at the canal or in the vicinity thereof. 

During all this later time of changed opinion, when the 
treaty was howled against and men looked for a scape-goat 
the odium was laid on Millard Fillmore. It was even dug 
up and used a generation after his death, as an argument 
against rearing a posthumous statue in his honor at Buffalo. 
Did Clayton commit treason? Was not Millard Fillmore's 
part most honorable ? 

Mr. Fillmore all his life upheld vigorously the idea of 
reciprocity with Great Britain, and in his final message he 
discussed this vital theme. In the matter of the Lobos 
Islands, lying westward of the coast of Peru, he was one in 
sympathy and action with Queen Victoria's government. 
Both British and American adventurers were removing at 
will the valuable guano deposits and vociferously demanded 

117 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

the protection of war vessels. Lord Palmerston, believing 
that Peru had a just claim on the islands as part of her 
own territory, denied the request. Mr. Webster, poorly 
informed, gave encouragement to American commercial 
filibusters to remove the deposits. 

The Peruvian minister protested. Mr. Fillmore read 
from the British Blue Book the facts, as given in the 
correspondence from 1832 to 1852, and through his secre- 
tary of state, made amends for the wrong done to Peru. 
In a noble editorial, which was widely copied in America, 
the L,ondon Times made handsome acknowledgement of 
the President's statesmanship. 

In the light of their attitude in relation to treaties with 
Asians and Europeans, and on the oceanic canal question, 
it is in 1914 an open question, whether the ethical sense or 
the practical political morality of the American people has 
improved since 1851. They have violated one treaty with 
China, to suit "the Pacific coast" ; and, to please Man- 
hattan Hebrews chiefly, denounced their sacred obliga- 
tions with Russia. After making a solemn compact with 
Great Britain, it is now to be seen whether we are to com- 
mit national perfidy. The California land laws of 1913 are 
violations of the spirit of the treaty with Japan. Probably 
we need ethical reinforcement and a more sensitive na- 
tional conscience. 

This era of diplomacy, 1 849-1 853 — one of the most 
notable in American history — was also a period of national 
education and creative experiment, in which our statesmen 
had to feel their way. Multifarious interests kept the 
United States Government in active negotiation with the 
nations of three continents, Europe, Asia and America. 
Yet except Wheaton's, none of the great works on inter- 
national law by American authors, a field in which they 
have won such honerable fame, were then written. In- 
quiring of Edward Everett, Webster's successor, for a 

118 



NATIONAL HONOR. CANAL AND THE TREATIES 

bibliography of international law, the President received a 
list of about fifty works, almost all in foreign languages, 
and an answer, in part, as follows : " There is no depart- 
ment of moral science in which the English language is so 
poorly supplied with original authors, as the law of nations. 
It is necessary to resort to translations to make out any- 
thing like a complete list." Happily this is not now the 
case. If Americans could only lead in the practice, as 
they do in the theory of international law ! 

President Fillmore was, in a true sense, a pioneer. He 
was an opportunist in that he steered from headland to 
headland, by the star of precedent set by Washington, but 
no one could ever doubt either his stalwart Americanism 
or his purpose to do right, as God gave him to see the right. 



119 



CHAPTER XIX. 
' The Nominating Convention of 1852. 

The Whig party, being one of economics and treasure, 
rather than of ethics and principle, was one more of policy, 
than of the highest politics. Its appeal was to the text, 
rather than to the spirit of the Constitution. 

The victory in 1848, which gave the Whigs almost as 
many representatives in Congress as their opponents, was 
painfully deceptive. There was no basis of principle in 
the New York contest, which was really one of those 
struggles between the National and State party machines, 
so common in the Empire State, wherein politics respond 
so promptly to personal manipulation. 

The first note of the coming dissolution of parties was 
sounded by Toombs of Georgia. He insisted on a formal 
condemnation of Wilmot's Anti-Slavery Proviso. When 
the caucus refused to consider the resolution, the Toombs 
faction declined to act further with the party. In the 
Congress of 1849, the Southern Whigs, held together in 
all the interests of slavery with the Southern Democrats, 
being one on the final vote. 

Placed between two fires — their Southern associates and 
their own constituents — the Northern Whigs made only 
passive resistance, spending most of their time in the 
lobbies. This conduct drew the lightning of scorn from 
the implacable Thaddeus Stevens. The Fugitive Slave 
I,aw once passed, the Pennsylvauian suggested that the 
Speaker should send a page into the lobby to inform absent 
members that they might now return with safety. In the 
face of events, such a policy could not long endure. It 
was a house divided against itself. 

American political history shows more than one chasm 
between the politicians and the people. This time, cotton 



THE NOMINA TING CONVENTION OF 1852 

and conscience, money and principle being at odds, great 
crevasses opened in the boundary dykes. In New York 
the " Silver Greys ", followers of Fillmore, or " Adminis- 
tration Whigs ' ' , found themselves opposed to Seward and 
his followers. Yet party machinery was still strong and 
the people had no leaders to formulate and incarnate their 
hopes. The volcano crust hardened for a while. During 
the first twenty months of Fillmore's administration, there 
was much murmuring but no open revolt. The deeps 
were dumb. 

The Southern Whigs issued an ultimatum, which meant 
the party's division, or its defeat. The recognition of the 
compromise of 1850 was to be accepted as a finality. In- 
troduced into the caucus, it had been evaded or ignored, 
but at the Baltimore nominating Convention of June, 1852, 
it took ominous form. The eighth and final plank of the 
platform read, (resolved) " That the series of acts in the 
thirty-second Congress, the act known as the Fugitive 
Slave L,aw included, are received and acquiesced in by the 
Whig part} 7 of the United States as a settlement i?i principle 
and substance [underscored at the suggestion of Webster 
and Choate] of the dangers and exciting questions which 

they embraced and we will maintain the system 

as essential to the nationality of the party and the integrity 
of the Union." 

After this, the popular verdict that the " Whig party 
died of an attempt to swallow the Fugitive Slave L,aw", 
does not seem an unreasonable one. 

It is wholesome discipline for an American to study the 
opinions, about our methods of government and of party 
machinery, as held in England, " the mother of Parlia- 
ments". The tone of the London Times editorials and 
comment, in view of the Baltimore Convention, was S} T m- 
pathetic and fine. " The eighteenth century saw the 
colonies lost to Great Britain, but now behold the United 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

States ! What actually exists is only the begin- 
nings of a grandeur which seems destined to surpass all the 
precedents and the various conceptions of the Old World." 
Up to 1850, it could be said that the Pope and the Presi- 
dent of the United States were the two principal elective 
rulers of mankind. 

Yet since that date (1852) how great has been the growth 
of Democracy, the spread of American ideas, the founding 
of republics, and the multiplication of written constitu- 
tions, not only in Europe but even in Asia — Japan leading 
the nations of the oldest continent, and China joining in 
humanity's procession ! 

As matter of fact, Mr. Fillmore seems to have given 
himself little concern as to his future political career. On 
June 16, 1852, he wrote a letter withdrawing his name 
from the nominating convention in Baltimore. It was not 
however read in the convention. 

The following letters, no doubt hastily penned, are in 
the Buffalo collection of " Letters Received" : 

Daniel Webster to Millard Fillmore. 

" Private. 

My dear Sir: — I have sent a communication to Baltimore 
this morning to have an end put to the pending contro- 
versy. I think it most probable that you will be nominated 
before 10 o'clock. But this is my opinion merely. 

Yours, 

D. W." 

Inside the envelope containing the above note, is the 
answer from Millard Fillmore to Daniel Webster. 

Washington, June 24th. 

" My dear Sir: — I have your note saying that you had 
sent a communication to Baltimore, to have an end put to 
the pending controversy. 

I had intimated to my friends, who left last evening and 
this morning, a strong desire to have my name withdrawn, 



THE NOMINA TING CONVENTION OF 1852 

which I presume will be done, unless the knowledge of 
your communication shall prevent it. I therefore wish to 
know whether your friends will make known your com- 
munication to mine before the balloting commences this 
morning. If not, I apprehend it may be too late to effect 

anything. 

Yours, 

Hon. D. Webster. Millard Fillmore. 

9:30 A. M. 
As for the time for nominations drew near, Mr. Webster 
expressed in exact terms the philosophy of the history of 
the Whig party. For over thirty years it had had a noble 
record. It started on the downward trend, when the flag 
of "availability ", as in the case of Harrison, was reared. 
Instead of trained statesmen, political nonentities were 
nominated for the presidency. In 1849, nothing was known 
as to Taylor's political abilities, and little of the man, ex- 
cept that he was the hero of Buena Vista. "They hap- 
pened to nominate an able man for the vice-presidency, who 
succeeded to the Government after a year" .... "I 
think", said he, " that Mr. Fillmore has given us as fair 
and impartial and able administration as the Government 
has had for many years." 

Later on, he declared that he was " nauseated at another 
dose of availability " in the nomination of General Scott. 
He predicted his sure defeat, not allowing him the electoral 
vote of as many as six states. (As matter of fact, Scott 
gained only four.) Even if chosen, he would be a mere 
tool in the hands of the New York Whig regency, headed 
by the gentleman from Auburn. In fact, the real presi- 
dent of the United States would be William H. Seward, 
and not Winfield Scott. He prophesied that the party 
would cease to exist after November 4, 1852. 

On his death bed, Henry Clay said to the delegates to 
Baltimore, — " Fillmore, by all means." 

123 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

To this convention, the Southern men had come to up- 
hold Mr. Fillmore and the compromise measures, but many 
from the North had no such desire and did not even want 
a platform or declaration of principles, while the delega- 
tion from the South insisted upon one. Finally the bar- 
gain was struck and the " deal " made in a manifesto, the 
pith of which was that the compromise measures formed 
" a settlement, in principle and substance, of the dangerous 
and exciting questions which they embrace." Yet against 
this platform, which they openly derided, seventy northern 
delegates voted. 

In the Convention of 1852, three candidates were pre- 
sented. On the first ballot, Fillmore had 133 votes, Scott 
131, and Webster 29. On the second ballot, the votes for 
Fillmore and Scott were reversed. From this point there 
was little change, until on the 53rd ballot, Scott was 
nominated by a vote of 159, to 112 for Fillmore and 21 for 
Webster. On the second ballot for the vice-presidency, 
Graham was nominated. 



124 



CHAPTER XX. 
The Era of Prosperity : 1849-1853. 

Millard Fillmore's hand was placed on the helm of the 
Ship of State in a time of storm and danger. The United 
States, having nearly doubled its area by the accession 
of the territory west of the Mississippi, novel experiences 
had to be entered upon and colossal responsibilities faced, 
even while the Union was confronted with the slavery 
question, at its most heated stage. However he attempted 
to solve this double task, he must meet obloquy, for both 
North and South were diligently searching for a scapegoat 
and loudly demanded a victim. 

It was an era of mad ambitions and huckstering politics, 
of the shameless abuse of patronage, of the calling of vile 
names and even of armed collision in legislative halls. In 
economics, a new era had begun. A great wave of emi- 
gration set westwardly over the plains, while on the sea 
fleets were carrying the Argonauts of industry and free- 
dom to the Pacific coast. Simultaneously, a refluent surge 
of golden treasure moved to the East, creating an era of 
prosperity unknown before in American history. 

President Fillmore had, first of all, to face a hostile ma- 
jority in Congress. His own Americanism was according 
to noble ideals, his foresight commendable and his recom- 
mendations of highest value. Yet these latter were for 
the most part ignored. Yet his was statesmanship of the 
highest order. He was President of the whole and all of 
the United States. The nation had been built up by con- 
cessions and compromises, and he believed it must be main- 
tained in the same way. 

To-day, the practical results of Fillmore's statesmanship 
are obvious. His administration was marked by a vigor- 
ous and fruitful foreign policy, by reduction of inland 

125 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

postage, the establishment of marine and military hospitals, 
the initiation of transit between the Mississippi valley and 
the Pacific ocean, the general use of the telegraph, assertion 
of the non-intervention principle, reform of the land laws, 
beneficent naval activities, enlargement of the capitol, and 
the introduction of water and the increase of comforts and 
adornments in the city of Washington. In all these meas- 
ures, Mr. Fillmore's interest was direct and personal. He 
led the way in urgency of the measures which led to the 
formation of the Agricultural Bureau, now a department of 
the Government and represented in the Cabinet. . The 
United States could in some things furnish Europe a good 
example. Six days before Franklin Pierce was inaugu- 
rated, Napoleon III. entered Paris as Emperor of the 
French, and the Empire was proclaimed. France was again 
robbed of her liberties by an adventurer. 

In England, it was hard for the average man to see in 
what way this proceeding of Louis, quondam London police- 
man and Frenchman, differed from filibustering, and 
wherein the acts of Walker the filibuster, were morally in- 
ferior to those of Napoleon the Little. 

In striking contrast was the quiet and orderly change of 
administration in the United States — all in accordance with 
law and precedent and moving almost with automatic pre- 
cision. The American way called forth the unbounded 
admiration of the English press. The Times editorial 
spoke of the inauguration of President Franklin Pierce as 
a spectacle of sublime majesty, which threw the pageants 
of Kings into the shade. 

" The march of events in each succeeding year convinces 
us more and more that there is no occurrence beyond the 
limits of the British Empire, and out of our control, which 
exercises so great and important an influence on our wel- 
fare as the character and quality of the American Govern- 
ment." We criticize American institutions as freely as 

126 



THE ERA OF PROSPERITY : 1849-1853 

we do our own, but are conscious that these institutions 
" are but the trans-Atlantic growth of our liberties, our 
laws, and our language, sprung from one root and bred by 
one people." 

Mr. Fillmore was kept busy at signing documents until 
midnight of March 3rd, 1853. In the morning, the air 
was chilly and the sky cloudy, foretokening weather that 
would discourage show and mean much discomfort to out- 
door spectators. Both of the chief servants were brothers 
in grief, for Mr. Pierce was to enter on public station, and 
Mr. Fillmore to leave it in great private sorrow. Even 
while on his way to Washington, the son of the 
president-elect met his death in a railway accident. Rid- 
ing from the Executive Mansion, in company with his 
predecessor, Mr. Pierce stood erect in the carriage, bowing 
to all, while Mr. Fillmore sat, enjoying the scene. At the 
western end of the Capitol, the chief men alighted and after 
gathering in the Senate Chamber, the procession moved 
through the rotunda, past the historic pictures to the 
eastern portico. 

In front of the eastern porch of the Capitol, an enormous 
crowd had gathered, many people having slept on the steps 
the night before. During the ceremony a heavy fall of 
snow took place. 

Private sorrows did indeed seem to centre around the 
inaugural event of March 4th, 1853. Quickly following 
the death of President Pierce's son, was the decease of 
Mrs. Fillmore, in Washington, and, on the same day, of 
Mrs. Lewis Cass in Detroit. In token of sympathy the 
Government offices in Washington were closed, the Senate 
suspended session, the Cabinet adjourned, and the flags, 
bearing the thirty-one stars, hung at half-mast. Vice- 
President King died at his home in Alabama, April 18th. 

Mrs. Fillmore took cold while standing in the wintry 
weather during the whole of the inaugural exercises on 

127 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

the chilling stoue of the Capital porch. After a few- 
week's illness, she died in Willard's Hotel, March 30th. 

It is no exaggeration to say in a survey of the life thus 
ended, of this devoted wife, mother, friend and gracious 
lady of the White House — one of a noble succession — that 
she, Abigail Powers, was doubly well named, and grandly 
worthy of the significance of the cognomen, Abigail, which 
was also her mother's name. Like the tactful heroine of 
Scripture, who became the helpmeet of Israel's king, Miss 
Powers' name was given in unconscious prophecy, since 
she became the wife of a nation's leader. Whether on the 
frontier, amid log cabins, in the city, at the State or the 
Nation's center, she exemplified in her radiant influence 
the Japanese proverb, " Where you live — that's the capi- 
tal." Her reading and self-culture were never inter- 
mitted. She ever lived up to her opportunities. After 
having been already twice a mother, besides becoming an 
accomplished musician, she learned the French language, 
so as to enjoy its rich literature. From the first day of 
their marriage until she laid down the burdens of life, 
Millard Fillmore never took an important step without 
consulting her. Of her, as a wife, it was long before 
written : " The heart of her husband doth safely trust in 

her She will do him good and not evil, all the 

days of her life." 

Millard Fillmore was the chief servant of twenty- four 
millions of people, during an age of national expansion, of 
naval activity of a double westward emigration — by land 
and sea — and of an immigration unparalled in history. 
Never before, in so short a time, did Europe pour so many 
of her surplus myriads upon our shores. Never did the 
Atlantic States give to the new West such multitudes of 
their children. 

Apart from humanitarian considerations, the African in 
the land was considered an asset. Slavery had to spread 

128 



THE ERA OF PROSPERITY: 1849-1853 

westward or die. Economic forces compelled this alterna- 
tive. Herein lay the core of the whole controversy con- 
cerning the territories. The conflict was not one of opin- 
ion only, nor was the negro merely a lay figure. In the 
battle of economics, ethical principles were indeed involved ; 
yet, since the matter touched men's pockets, they became 
ultra strenuous in politics. The " Institution " of slavery 
provoked vital questions of wealth or poverty, of sterilizing 
the soil or of maintaining its fertility, of keeping alive in 
the world a belated form of feudalism, or of promoting the 
freedom of man. 

Two parallel and westward-moving forms of civilization 
were in rivalry. They were based respectively on free and 
on slave labor. The force was not static but dynamic, for 
there were continual accessions of strength, as new states 
were formed. Human bondage, by its economic folly 
alone, was as foredoomed as had been the two feudalisms 
of the New World, French and Dutch, of patroons and 
seignors. Not all the pulpits and wrested scriptures could 
keep back the hostile forces that smote slavery. When 
ethics joined economics, the "institution" reeled in the 
crash of war. 

From 1848 to I852, our national prosperity was phe- 
nomenal. California gold and the products of the soil 
augmented other resources, for our ships and flag were 
then on every sea and the home market was immense. 
New inventions conserved or created wealth. On the 
Mississippi river alone — the largest single trade route in 
the country — commerce, now aided by steam, amounted to 
two hundred millions of dollars. Except from California, 
the news of all the states could be read at the breakfast- 
table. Moses Farmer, Joseph Henry, Samuel F. B. Morse 
and Ezra Cornell had done the telegraph work, which, when 
correlated, turned sparks into letters and thrills into words. 



129 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Tidings from the Pacific Coast came by pony express, 
whenever the nimble riders were able to dodge Indian 
arrows and bullets. The Panama railway had been com- 
pleted. Large numbers of ex-presidents, of impromptu 
and defunct South and Central American republics, with 
their families, reared between revolutions, visited the 
United States to put their children to school. Some of us, 
as their playmates, well remember them and their seniors. 

The quest after unseen and imponderable forces was no 
less assiduous. Great gatherings of "Shakers, ranters, 
jokers, and barkers " professed to act in the name of the 
invisible intelligences. The phenomena, on which mental 
healing and spiritualism depend, are as old as the human 
consciousness. The student of man and mind in other 
lands — in Japan, for example — sees nothing new in Ameri- 
can manifestations of nervous or psychic force, or in the 
latest dogmas of professed healers. All countries have 
them. In our later days, spiritism, in its varied doctrinal 
evolutions and forms of expression, has been mightily re- 
inforced from its original home in Asia. Its confusing 
vocabulary, its crystal-gazing, and its scraps of Buddhism 
still win devotees, yet it has not yet brought to the ordinary 
man, voyaging on the sea of life, " the image of a home- 
ward sail." 

Few of those who followed the gleam of a grand idea, 
or pursued to fruition a real purpose to elevate mankind, 
seemed able, when at the full tide of success, to show that 
balance of mind and sanity of self-control which are the 
marked characteristics of great men. Perhaps none illus- 
trated this truth more signally than the Mormon leader, 
Brigham Young, for whose lapse into lawlessness, Millard 
Fillmore was held responsible. One has but to look at the 
facts to see the absurdity of the charge. 



130 



THE ERA OF PROSPERITY: iS 49 -iS 53 

Except the Fugitive Slave Law, no act of the thirteenth 
president was more harshly criticized than his appointment 
of Brigham Young as Governor of Utah. Yet when the 
Act making Utah a territory was passed in 1850, the Mor- 
mons were quiet and orderly. Persecuted and driven 
away from their property, it was natural that they should 
feel bitterly toward the Gentiles, and even against the 
Government in Washington. Following his life-long habit, 
Mr. Fillmore, considering that conciliation was better than 
coercion, thought that the Mormons might be won back to 
loyal allegiance, if their liberty of conscience was respected. 
Brigham Young, the son of a Vermont farmer and educated 
in a Baptist church, had not joined the Mormons, until 
1832. In a word, Mr. Fillmore as usual followed the best 
American traditions. Not until near the close of his ad- 
ministration, was it known that polygamy was to be the 
law of the Mormon church, while the complicity of the 
Mormons with the Mountain Meadow massacre in 1857, 
was not known until 1874, the year of Mr. Fillmore's 
death. 

The beauty of the national capital and the enlargement 
of the capitol owe much to President Fillmore. In Con- 
gress, as Chairman of affairs relating to the District of 
Columbia, he was earnest and active in having the city 
developed according to the original plans of the French 
engineer, Major 1' Enfant. In his third annual message he 
recommended the introduction of water into the city, then 
supplied by pumps and wells. He adopted, after careful 
examination, the plans for the new edifice of the national 
legislature. Then he so hastened the work that the cornei- 
stone of the extension of the present capitol was laid, by 
his own hands, July 4th, 1851. Three aged men, who had 
seen George Washington perform the same office in 1793, 
when the hamlet on the Potomac contained but five hun- 



131 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

dred souls, were present. Daniel Webster delivered the 
oration. When a fire destroyed the most of the Library of 
Congress, in the winter of 1851, Mr. Fillmore worked with 
firemen at the engines. In various ways, the President 
wrought earnestly to make the nation's capital the gem of 
American cities. At the end of his term of office, the 
citizens of Washington tendered him a complimentary 
dinner for having done so much for the City Beautiful. 



132 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Politics and Immigration. 

A recurrent feature in American politics, ever since 
Colonial days, has been the popular opposition to freshly 
arriving aliens. Pennsylvania first took alarm in the 
eighteenth century, because of the influx of Germans and 
again in the nineteenth, when the Irish came in like a 
flood. From time to time, there have been invasions from 
Europe in sudden numbers that seemed menancing. The 
flood from southern Europe in our day had not yet begun. 

These outbursts of jealousy, suspicion and alarm, in the 
American colonies, arose from the instinct of self-preserva- 
tion, rather than from any activity of the speculative in- 
tellect. Race-memory recalled emotions from the forgotton 
aeons of history, when in the migration of tribes, one sup- 
planted another, or became its conqueror. The same story 
has been repeated all over the earth. There is a comic side 
of the matter and one that is as old as the question as to 
which one is the " troubler of Israel." Peter Stuyvesant 
regarded the Yankees as interlopers, when he dated his 
letter from "Hartford in New Netherland." It is even 
better known how the New Englanders looked down upon 
the Dutchmen, and how the Indian considered both as 
intruders. 

Nevertheless there was scarcely an anti-alien organiza- 
tion or party, until 1852. Following the failure of the 
revolutions in Europe and of the potato crop in over- 
crowded Ireland, the stream of immigrants was phenomenal. 
In America, Pat took to politics as naturally as a mos- 
quito to the human circulation, and soon waxed fat with 
office. The Whigs saw that these men, as soon as 
naturalized, voted with the Democrats and some of the 
former resorted to secrecy and oaths to combat the evil. 

i33 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

If we except early Masonry in New York, this method 
was new in American politics. A secret, oath-bound 
fraternity, modeled on some of those already in existence, 
in which there were many degrees, was formed. Its real 
objects, and even the name of the order, were not known 
until the lower initiates had reached the higher ranks. To 
all questions, the answer was " I don't know ", and hence 
the popular term, " The Know Nothing Party ". Another 
nickname was " Sam", for the knowing members, in their 
replies, at least, had "seen Sam". Some say that the 
true name of the order was " The Sons of '76 ", or " The 
Order of the Star Spangled Banner ". Ostensibly the mo- 
tive of this new organization was to curtail both the in- 
creasing power and the purpose of the Roman hierarchy in 
America, which was then openly hostile to our public 
school system, and to curb the greed and incapacity of un- 
naturalized citizens for public office. Its raotto was 
" Americans must rule America " and its countersign was 
given in words ascribed to Washington, " Put none but 
Americans on duty to-night." 

Mr. Fillmore's attitude to and record in the American 
Party was at least consistent. He had long before grieved 
over the alien's abuse of the elective franchise, which was 
the real cause for the revival of native Americanism. No 
registration laws and no rigid guarding of the ballot box 
then existed. When he had seen in Europe, not only 
among the natives, but of foreign-born persons representing 
the United States abroad, served only to confirm him in his 
opinions. He was unalterably opposed to dividing the 
school fund among the sects, or to taxing freemen to sup- 
port dogma and ritual. 

In his view, the American Party was not founded on 
hostility to foreigners, but to their taking part in politics 
before becoming imbued with American sentiments. 

His motive and purpose was to preserve the purity of 

134 



POLITICS AND IMMIGRA TION 

American institutions, especially since he believed, with 
many of his countrymen, that it was the set and avowed 
purpose of the adherents of one form of Christianit}-, then 
allied with political power, to destroy the American public 
school system. He had opposed Governor Seward's propo- 
sition, in 1840 and 1841, to the legislature of the State of 
New York, to set apart a portion of its common-school fund 
for the support of sectarian schools. This anti- American 
notion was pressed with all the arguments that could be 
devised in its favor by an artful and ingenious mind. 

The foreign residents, holding the balance of power be- 
tween the two old parties, were conscious of being able to 
turn the scale as they pleased. They demanded a large 
share of the important offices, to the exclusion of native 
born citizens, claiming them as a reward for thronging the 
caucuses and primary meetings and in hanging about the 
polls and bullying quiet, native citizens, who went to de- 
posit their votes. In Europe, Mr. Fillmore's convictions 
were intensified at seeing so many of our diplomatic posts 
held by men not born in the United States. From first to 
last, he approved of the Native American's Party's object 
and formally united with it. 

Meeting in Philadelphia, February 22, 1856 the dele- 
gates of the Native American (Know Nothing) National 
Convention adopted a platform which condemned the repeal 
of the Missouri Compromise and demanded a twenty-one 
years residence in the United States of all foreigners, before 
naturalization. One fourth of the delegates, anti-slavery 
in sentiment, had withdrawn. The majority nominated 
Millard Fillmore and Andrew Jackson Donelson of Tennes- 
see as their candidates. Mr. Fillmore wrote his letter of 
acceptance from Europe. 

There was another and external, but potent reason for 
the formation of this new party. After the Whigs had 

i35 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

reached their Waterloo, in the defeat of Scott and Graham, 
untried men sought to build up a new political structure 
on the ruins of the old organization, by utilizing the deep- 
seated feeling among the Whigs against the foreign vote. 
This promised a possible escape from the slavery question. 
Hence the remnants of the Whig party, meeting at Balti- 
more September 12, 1856, endorsed the American nomina- 
tion of Fillmore and Donelson, without approving the plat- 
form of the Know Nothings. The northern Whigs, for 
the most part, entered the fold of the new Republican 
party, while not a few leaders went over to the Democrats. 
In administering on the estate of the defunct Whig party, 
the majority of Republicans held to its economic doctrines. 

By its enemies, Know-Nothingism, popularly so called, 
was denounced as " a well-timed scheme to divide the peo- 
ple of the free states upon trifles and side issues, whilst the 
South remained a unit in defence of its great interest." It 
seemed then to be a cunning attempt to balk and divert the 
indignation aroused by the repeal of the Missouri Com- 
promise. At the time when Protestant jealousy was being 
excited, the South pushed its schemes of enlarging the area 
of human bondage. 

The refusal of the candidates of the American Party, to 
discuss the flaming question of freedom and slavery, drew 
forth a storm of obloquy, while the inherent sense of humor 
possessed by the Yankee found colossal expression. 

The results of the election were foreseen by practical 
politicians. The conflict of 1856 narrowed itself down to 
one between the Democrats and Republicans. Of the popu- 
lar vote, Mr. Fillmore received 21.57%, Fremont 33.09%, 
and Buchanan 45.34%; for Mr. Fillmore, 874,534 votes, 
for Mr. Fremont 1,342,264, and for Mr. Buchanan 
1,838,169. 

Though some give the Whig party a nominal history 
from 1828 to 1852, its real activity covers the four years 

136 



POLITICS AND IMMIGRA TION 

between 1842 and 1846, and its only genuine party action 
was its nomination of Clay, in 1844. " During all the rest 
of its history, the party was trading on borrowed capital 
and its creditors held mortgages on all its conventions, 
which they were always prompt to foreclose." 

The Whig party, now dead forever, had done its work. 
It had had its own office to perform. "In its members, 
rather than its leaders, was preserved most of the national- 
izing spirit of the United States." In a word, while the 
people of the various states were not yet ready for true 
nationality, the preparatory work in behalf of the final 
consummation was crudely but effectively done for the 
making of the United States of our day. The exact situa- 
tion is best reflected in the American literature of the 
period. There were histories of the states, but no com- 
plete history of the United States until one was written by 
a woman, Mrs. Emma Willard, a practical teacher at Troy, 
N. Y., in 1828. 

Knownothingism, as described by critics and opponents, 
with its " riotous career," was a sudden tornado of opin- 
ion, like that of anti-Masonry, blowing from an independ- 
ent quarter across the field of the regular parties and for a 
little while confusing their lines. When civil war was im- 
pending in i860, it was as the flicker of a dying flame, that 
under the name of the Constitutional Union Party, some 
ex-members of the old Whig party, in the border states, 
nominated John Bell and Edward Everett for President and 
Vice President. The last trace of the old Whig party was 
utterly lost in the storm of war which burst on the country 
in 1861. 



i37 



CHAPTER XXII. 
The First Citizen of Buffalo. 

After his overwhelming defeat, in the election of 1856, 
which he took very philosophically, Mr. Fillmore recon- 
structed his home and settled down to be a model ex- 
president. 

For a generation he was " the first citizen of Buffalo ", 
though from the beginning of his manhood he had been 
foremost among the lovers of "the Lake City." 

During his legal practice and his Congressional career, 
his home was on Franklin street. The house, a two- 
storied white building, had a row of trees in front. Lake 
Erie was but a short distance away. " It was the home of 
industry and temperance, with plain diet ; no tobacco, no 
swearing." 

Before entering a new house, he made first a home by a 
second marriage. On March 10th, 1858, in Albany, the 
Rev. Dr. Hague officiating, in the same room in the Schuy- 
ler mansion in which Alexander Hamilton made Elizabeth 
Schuyler his bride*, Mr. Fillmore was married to Mrs. Caro- 
line Mcintosh, widow of Ezekiel C. Mcintosh, one of the 
prominent men of business in Albany and a man of high 
personal worth. 

The house in Buffalo, which the ex-president purchased 
was on ground which first belonged to the Holland Land 
Company. In 1853, John Hollister found a white building 
standing on this site, the Delaware Avenue side being orna- 
mented with a row of tall poplars. Here, on a slight emi- 
nence, he built his home, in the style of the Tudor Gothic. 
Within, the heavy moldings and ornamentation of Queen 
Elizabeth's era still remain to attest the taste and wealth of 
the first occupant. The house fronted Niagara Square and 
near by, as neighbors, were the Hawleys, Salisburys, 

138 



THE FIRST CITIZEN OF BUFFALO 

Havens, Burtices, Austins, Babcocks, Seymours, Wilkesons, 
Sizers, and others. Here Mr. Hollister lived until the 
financial disasters of 1858 swept away his fortune. Then 
this dwelling, so spacious and comfortable, with its excel- 
lent location, formed the setting for the generous hospitality 
and elegant leisure of the ex-President. To-day, much 
altered and merged into the Castle Inn, it faces the Mc- 
Kinley monument in Niagara Square. While living here, 
Mr. and Mrs. Fillmore worshipped in the Episcopal church. 

Hardly was the new couple settled in Buffalo, when the 
civil war broke out. It was a sectional struggle, economic 
and moral, between the States. It had been fought long 
and hard on the floor of Congress, before it was adjourned 
to the bloody field. 

How earnestly Mr. Fillmore strove to avert the impend- 
ing storm is seen in his letters at this time. He declared 
himself ready to act as intermediary in the cause of peace, 
in order to forefend the shedding of blood. The scurrilous 
editorials in opposition to the project of the Peace Confer- 
ence, which he was willing to attend, illustrate the diffi- 
culties in both the path of pure Christianity and of the 
Parliament of the World at the Hague. 

During the war between the states, Mr. Fillmore was 
made chairman of the Committee of Public Defense in 
Buffalo, and was captain of the Union Continentals. He 
presided over, or took part in the various public meetings 
to sustain the Government or to encourage the Union 
soldiers, and in other ways showed his intense interest as a 
patriot in the issue of the war and the fate of his country. 
He was a strong Union man/ though far from approving 
all the acts of the Lincoln administration. He was chair- 
man of the Union rally, April 16, 1861, and he initiated 
subscriptions in aid of the families of volunteers. - At the 
head of his company, he escorted the first troops sent off to 
the war on May 3rd, 1861. In the Fillmore Papers may 

139 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

be found many of his speeches and letters during the con- 
tinuance of the civil war. 

Yet because of what some choose to consider his " half 
hearted attitude", he had occasionally to submit to 
defamation and insult, some of it of a very vulgar kind. 
In a time of excitement, " Old Glory " is made to cover a 
multitude of abominations. Of necessity it shelters "lewd 
fellows " , as well as genuine patriots. The mudslinger and 
the assassin differ in degree, rather than in kind. 

Of the three presidents, whom he entertained in his 
home, John Quincy Adams, in 1843 ; Andrew Johnson, in 
1866; and Abraham Lincoln, February 16th and 17th, 
1861, he met and honored the last in both life and death, 
paying his memory the last honors. Mr. Lincoln's visit to 
Buffalo, as the guest of Mr. Fillmore was from February 
18th to 20th, 1861. At the Unitarian church, Rev. Dr. 
Hosmer pastor, the two men who held the same views on 
slavery worshipped together. Mr. Fillmore's father died 
March 28, 1863, making life lonelier, for father and son were 
often seen together looking almost like twin brothers, in 
venerable and attractive manhood. 

The country at peace and the returning Union armies 
welcomed home, Mr. Fillmore again sought relaxation in 
travel beyond sea, where already his accomplished and 
patrician wife had, a dozen years before, enjoyed like him 
her first view of the old lands of culture and history. Most 
of the winter of 1866 was spent in Madrid or Paris. 

Returning from his second European tour, Mr. Fillmore 
kept up the same correct habits that had marked his whole 
life, as shown in his love of outdoors and the use of his 
legs. Besides his various activities of altruism, such as, 
for example, reading Shakespeare for the benefit of "the 
hands" in a shoe factory while they worked, he was the 
occupant of various " figure-head-positions " where dignity 

140 



THE FIRS! CITIZEN OF BUFFALO 

and character were desired above those who did the humbler 
and harder work. 

In his library, which was well stocked with the silent 
friends he loved, and rich in all kinds of useful aids to 
relaxing, he spent much time. He was as methodical in 
his daily life as when President of the nation. His activity 
as founder of the Historical Society and zealous patron of 
other civic, educational and philanthropic institutions in 
Buffalo was constant and unusual. 

One instance of delightful urbanity is recalled by the 
mother of one of our most brilliant women professors in 
Wellesley College. She was then the young wife of a min- 
ister in Buffalo. Her father had been known as " a bawl- 
ing abolitionist ", who in the awful days of the Fugitive 
Slave Law, as the President of the Boston and Concord 
Railway, hated Fillmore and all his works. As a northern 
girl, she had been taught to believe that Fillmore was 
"Armageddon & Co., Unlimited", if not the very devil 
himself. In her evening dress and in his " claw-hammer" 
coat, they first met on a social occasion. His fatherly in- 
terest in her role, of minister's wife and the mother of little 
children, his eager inquiries and sympathy with her work 
and his Chesterfieldian manners nearly took her breath 
away. Instead of horns, hoofs, forked tail, sooty hide, and 
sulphurous breath, here was a delightful old gentleman. It 
was a sudden and very pleasant disillusion. 

Throughout his life, Mr. Fillmore took a deep interest in 
the Indians of New York. To the last Great Council of 
the Six Nations, held at Glen Iris, near Portage, N. Y., in 
October, 1872, regularly convened by representative In- 
dians, and the Council Fire lighted by one of the Iroquois, 
Mr. Fillmore went by invitation as an interested spectator. 
Here were present nineteen painted and plumed sons of the 
forest, most of them bearing names that are historic in 
frontier history, besides several women, one of them being 

141 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

Mrs. Osborn, Brant's beautiful and accomplished daughter. 
The men were armed and ornamented as in the old days of 
fame and glory. The grandsons of four chiefs of might 
and renown, took part in the ceremonies, — Joseph Brant's 
grandson, Colonel Simcoe Kerr, Chief of the Mohawks ; 
John Jacket, grandson of Red Jacket ; a grandson of Corn- 
planter and a grandson of Mary Jameson ; N. H. Parker, 
brother of E. S. Parker, who was on General U. S. Grant's 
staff during the Civil War ; besides Black Snake, Tall 
Chief, Shongo, son of the Seneca chief who led the descent 
npon Wyoming, in 1778, and last, but by no means least, 
George Jones, son of the sachem Long Horn, who had acted as 
executioner in a case of witchcraft on Buffalo Creek, May 
2nd, 1 82 1. When the orator Red Jacket defended this man 
in a court of law, he quoted, in defense of the accused, the 
Salem precedent in Massachusetts, and acquittal was the 
result. It is not generally considered, yet it is a fact, that 
both the United States and Great Britain employed as allies 
more Iroquois in the war of 181 2, than during the Revolu- 
tion of 1776. The gathering at Glen Iris was one of intense 
interest and highly dramatic in its eloquence and incidents, 
because of this schism in 1812, which, before the session of 
this council, had not yet been healed. 

The white people were not commingled with the red 
men, but occupied a separate part of the Council House. 
The most notable incident of the gathering was the recon- 
ciliation between the Mohawks and the Senecas. The 
former had served Great Britain and the latter the Ameri- 
can Republic in the war of 1812. In this gathering, the 
feud of seventy-five years was healed, with appropriate 
words, the clasping of hands and other ceremonies and 
particularly the smoking of the pipe of peace. 

After reconciliation and the Council exercises had been 
completed, the white people who were present organized. 

142 



THE FIRST CITIZEN OF BUFFALO 

Mr. Fillmore acted as chairman and several brief addresses 
were made. 

In January, 1874, Mr. Fillmore was invited by his old 
friend, Mr. William O. Corcoran, of Washington, to meet 
at dinner the surviving members of his former cabinet. By 
the ex-president's request, this reunion was put off until 
April. When the appointed time came, however, both the 
ex-president and his Postmaster-General had joined the 
majority, being in death divided but by a few days. In 
February Mr. Fillmore attended his last public meeting and 
spoke on the Japan Expedition of Commodore Perry, to 
which he had given executive initiation. 

For Millard Fillmore, nature's process of transfer from 
this life to the next was by a shock of appoplexy. On the 
first day, Tuesday, February 13, 1874, Mr. Fillmore saw 
clearly the issue and remarked, " This is the beginning of 
the end." From the 22nd to the 25th of February, he was 
up and about the house, but on the 26th he sank steadily. 
On Sunday evening, March 8th, when given some food, he 
said, "The nourishment is palatable." These were his 
last words. At 9 P. M. he was unconscious. At 11. 10, 
his eyes were closed by the attendant physician, Dr. White. 

On the nth of March, brief services of farewell in the 
home were conducted by the Rev. N. R. Hotchkiss, pastor 
of the Baptist Church and Rev. Dr. John C. Lord, Presby- 
terian. Then the body was taken to St. Paul's cathedral 
to rest in state. The guard of honor around the white, 
covered casket consisted of eight non-commissioned officers 
of Company D, of the Buffalo City Guards, who bore the 
coffin out of the house. 

Although March n, 1874, was a cold raw day, forbidding 
to pedestrians, throngs of his fellow citizens, who were 
proud of the man who did so much for Buffalo, apart from 
his fame as president, came to look once more upon that 
serene, courtly face and to recall the genial humanity of 

i43 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

the man who began with axe and plough to develop the 
Empire State. 

At 2 P.M. the committees, Congressmen, Governor, Presi- 
pent Grant and others entered the edifice. At 2.15, six 
sergeants of the U. S. Infantry at Fort Porter bore the body 
into the nave of the cathedral. Then, headed by the Rev. 
Dr. Shelton, the Episcopal ministers of Buffalo and the 
pall bearers, eight prominet citizens, followed. Dr. Shelton, 
a life-long friend of Mr. Fillmore, recounted the chief inci- 
dents in the life of the deceased and the main features of 
his career, poverty, industry, perseverence, purity, inde- 
pendence, and honesty. The music, by a full choir, was 
appropriate and pleasing. The burial was in Forest Lawn 
cemetery. 

In February, 1861, as we have seen, Abraham Lincoln 
and Millard Fillmore, guest and host, worshipped God in 
the Unitarian church in Buffalo. Standing together in the 
pew, these two men, both forest born, fellow rail splitters, 
self-educated frontier lawyers, comrades in Congress, Whigs 
of the old school, both believers in the Fugitive Slave Law, 
and long convinced that gradual emancipation, with in- 
demnity to the slave owners, was the true method of na- 
tional policy, of the same height at the shoulders, the one 
raw-boned and homely in country clothes, the other of 
polished manners and garbed in finest material, were typical 
of the glory and the mystery of human life. One passed on 
to colossal burdens, and through profoundest sorrows, to 
martyrdom, exhaltation, mythology and apotheosis. The 
other has had to wait for the slow justice of time. When 
volcanic passions have cooled, and history's perspective is 
clear, the radiant moon of duty done will shine above the 
ashes of the night fires, that once on the hills hid even the 
mountain peaks. 

144 



MILLARD FILLMORE CHRONOLOGY. 

The name Fillmore is of English, possibly Norman origin, 
the family having its seat in Herst, Parish Otterden, in 
which place James Filmer had his arms confirmed to him 
in 1570, viz. sable, three bars three cinquefoils in chief, or ; 
died, 1585 ; and had issue, Sir Edward, of Little Charlton, 
who purchased East Sutton in Kent. 

The first of the name known in this country is John Fill- 
more, or Phillmore, "mariner" of Ipswich, Mass., who 
purchased an estate in Beverly, Nov. 24th, 1704. He is 
believed to be the common ancestor of all the Fill- 
mores in America. He married June 19, 1701, Abigail, 
daughter of Abraham and Deliverance Tilton, of Ipswich 
by whom he had two sons and a daughter. John, the elder 
son, hero of the " Narrative " and captor of a pirate cap- 
tain, moved in 1724 to Franklin, Conn., dying in 1777. 
His son was Nathaniel, born at Bennington, April 19, 1771 ; 
his son Millard Fillmore was born at Locke, now Summer 
Hill, Cayuga County, N. Y. 

1800. January 7. On the farm at Locke and Sempronius 
until 14. 

1814. Hundred-mile walk to Sparta, N. Y. 

18 1 5. Apprenticeship at wool carding and cloth dressing. 
181 8. Teaching school at Scott, N. Y. Walk to Buffalo 

and back. 

18 19-182 1. Study of law at Montville and Moravia. 

182 1. Moved to Aurora (now East Aurora, Erie County) 
N. Y. 

1822. Read law in Buffalo. 

1823. Admitted to practice, Court of Common Pleas, in 
Buffalo. 

1823-1830. Practiced law in Aurora. 

1826. Feb. 5th. Married to Abigail, daughter of Rev. 
Lemuel Powers. 

10 145 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

1827. Admitted to the bar as attorney of the Supreme 
Court. 

1828. May 22nd. Delegate to the Erie County Conven- 
tion of National Republicans. 

1828. November. Elected to the New York Assembly. 
Anti-Masonic Candidate. 

1829. Admitted as counsellor, New York Supreme 
Court. 

1829. Re-elected to the New York Assembly. 

1830. Re-elected to the New York Assembly. 

1 83 1. In New York Assembly. Bill for abolition of im- 
prisonment for debt. 

1832. Death of his mother, Mrs. Phebe Fillmore. 
1832. Law firm of Clary and Fillmore formed. 
1832. Active in the Buffalo Youug Men's Lyceum. 
1832. Elected representative in the Twenty-Third Con- 
gress. 

1832. Wrote pamphlet advocating abolition of religious 
tests. 

1833. In Washington, in House of Representatives. 

1834. Law firm of Fillmore and Hall formed. 

1836. Nominated again for Congress. 

1837. Burning of the steamer " Caroline ". 

1838. Representative in Twenty-fifth Congress. 
1840. Representative in Twenty-Sixth Congress. 

1842. Chairman of Ways and Means Committee. Leader 
of the House. 

1842. March 3rd. Secures appropriation for Morse's 
Magnetic Telegraph. 

1842. June 9th. Famous speech on the Tariff. 

1842. Declined nomination for Congress. 

1843. The lake steamer Michigan launched. 

1844. Candidate for vice-president in the Whig National 
Convention. 

146 



MILLARD FILLMORE CHRONOLOGY 

1844. Nominated for Governor of New York. Defeated 
by Silas Wright. 

1 846-1 874. Chancellor of the University of Buffalo. 

1847. Nominated for Comptroller of New York State. 
Elected. 

1848. In office as Comptroller. 

1848. June 9th. Nominated for Vice President by the 
Whig National Convention. 

1848. November. Elected Vice President of the United 
States. 

1848. Gold discovered in California. 

1 849. In his Report foreshadows the National Bank 
system. 

1849. January 1. Resigns office as Comptroller (in effect 
February 20). 

1849. March 4. Inaugurated as Vice President. 

1850. April 3. Address on Rules of Order in the Senate. 
1850. July 10. Took oath of office as President of the 

United States.' 

1850. New Cabinet formed. 

1850. Supremacy of the National Government asserted 
in New Mexico. 

1850. California admitted to the Union, September 9. 

1850. September 18. Signed the Fugitive Slave Act. 

1850. New Mexico organized as a Territory. 

1850. Utah made a Territory. Appointment of Brigham 
Young as Governor. 

1851. April 25. Second proclamation against filibuster- 
ing. 

1851. May. Opening of the Erie Railroad. 
1 85 1. Laid the corner stone of the Capitol Extension. 
1 85 1. August 11. Lopez and filibusters land in Cuba. 
185 1. September. Tour in New England. 
1851. Appoints Judge B. R. Curtis on U. S. Supreme 
Court Bench. 

i47 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

1851. December 30. Receives Louis Kossuth. Non- 
intervention policy upheld. 

1 85 1. Letter to " Emperor " of Japan written and Perry 
called to Washington. 

1852. June 16-21. Whig National Convention at Balti- 
more. 

1852. Despatch of Commodore M. C. Perry to Japan. 

1852. December 6. Suppresses message on emancipation 
of slaves. 

1853. March. Dinner tendered by the citizens of Wash- 
ington. 

1853. March 4. Retired from the Presidency. 

1853. March 30. Death of Abigail Powers Fillmore at 
Washington. 

1854. March 1. Tour in the Southern States. At home 
May 20th. 

1854. Tour in the West. May 29 to mid-June. 

1854. July 26. Death of only daughter, Mary Fillmore. 

1854. Kansas-Nebraska Bill signed (Repeal of the Mis- 
souri Compromise) May 30. 

1855. May 17. Sailed for Europe. 

1855. Precedent fixed for reception of ex-presidents of 
U. S. in Europe. 

1856. Nominated for President by the American Party. 
1856. Nominated for President by the Whig Party. 
1856. May 21. Letter of Acceptance. 

1856. June. Returned from fifteen months travel in 
Europe. 

1856. June 22. Arrival in New York. 

1856. June 26. Famous Union speech at Albany. 

1856. November. Defeated in the National election. 

1858. Feb. 10. Married in Albany to Mrs. Caroline 
Mcintosh. 

1858. In his new home on Niagara Square in Buffalo. 
Generous hospitality. 

148 



MILLARD FILLMORE CHRONOLOGY 

1859. At Bi-centennial of Norwich, Conn. 

i860. Requested to go South as commissioner in inter- 
ests of Peace. 

1 86 1. February. Welcomes and entertains President- 
elect A. Lincoln. 

1 86 1. Speaker at the Union rally and first contributor to 
funds. 

1861. Captain of the Union Continentals. 

1 86 1. Escorts Volunteers for the Union army. 

1862. Chairman of the Buffalo Committee of Public 
Defense. 

1862. One of the incorporators of the Buffalo Fine Arts 
Academy. 

1862. May 20. Elected President of the Buffalo His- 
torical Society, 1862-1867. 

1865. April. Escorts body of Mr. Lincoln from Batavia 
to Buffalo. 

1865. Dec. Wrote last will and testament, (2 codicils, 
1868 and 1873.) 

1866. In Europe again with Mrs. Fillmore. 

1867. First President of the Buffalo Club. 

1869. October n. Presides over the Southern Com- 
mercial Convention at Louisville, Ky. 

1869. Appoints commission to visit Russia for trade and 
in Europe to attract capital and immigration to the South 
and West. 

1870. President of the Buffalo General Hospital. 
1870. Trustee Grosvenor Library (1 870-1 874). 
1872. Entertains the Japanese ambassador, Iwakura. 

1872. August. Opening of the Buffalo, New York and 
Philadelphia Railway. 

1873. March 3rd. Address before Society for the Pre- 
vention of Cruelty to Animals. 

1873. September 16. " History given in an Interview " 
{New York Herald) . 

149 



MILLARD FILLMORE 

1873. October 1. Last public address. Third Inter- 
national Exhibition, Buffalo. 

1874. Address on Perry's Expedition to Japan. 
1874. March 8. Died at his home in Buffalo. 
1874. March 11. Buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery. 
1874. March 11 ? Memorial address by Hon. James O. 

Putnam. 

1874. Agitation in favor of a public monument to Mr. 
Fillmore in Buffalo. 

1878. Address by Gen. James Grant Wilson on Millard 
Fillmore, Buffalo. 

1881. August 11. Death of Mrs. Caroline C. Fillmore. 

1889. November 15. Death of Millard Powers Fillmore. 

1899. January 10. " Fillmore Evening ' ' at the Buffalo 
Historical Society. 

1906. Paper on Millard Fillmore and his part in the 
opening of Japan before Buffalo Historical Society. 

1907. Publication of the Millard Fillmore papers. 

1908. Recovery of the volumes of " Letters Received ". 
19 1 5. Publication of " Millard Fillmore, Constructive 

Statesman and Thirteenth President of the United States." 



150 



INDEX 



Abolitionist, 16, 33, 82. 

Adams, John Quincy, 10, 11, 12, 

15, 100, 140. 
Adams, Will, 94. 
Administrations, 34, 43. 
Africa, 70, 87, 88. 
Agricultural Bureau, 126. 
Alabama, 17, 69. 
Albany, 4, 10, 40, 148. 
Albert, Prince, 86, 89. 
Alien and Sedition Laws, 20. 
Aliens, 29-32, 133-137. 
Alliances, 83. 
Amboyna, massacre. 98. 
American literature, 137. 
American party, 134-136. 
American people, 2. 
American ideas, 122, 109. 
American vote, 38. 
Americanism, 125, 134, 136. 
Americans and Japanese, 98-103. 
Anglo-American relations, 16-19, 

85-89, 109, 114-118, 142. 
Animals, 149. 
Annapolis, 86. 
Antarctic, 24. 
Anti-Fillmore Whigs, 46. 
Anti-Masonic agitation, 9-13, 137, 

146. 
Anti-secrecy, 9, 10. 
Anti-slavery movement, 36, 75, 135. 
Archer, Branch, 12, 14. 
Arctic research, 92. 
Argonauts, 125. 
Area of United States, 2, 90. 
Arizona, 65. 
Armenians, 84. 

Army officers, 22, 39, 106, 107. 
Asia, 62, 90, 92, 130. 
Astor House, 37. 
Atlantic Ocean, 90. 
Attorney-General, 57, 58. 
Augusta Chronicle, 75. 
Austria, 77, 81, 
Availability, 123. 

Bache, Alexander D., 86. 
Balance of power, 41, 101. 



Balize, 116. 

Baltimore, 11, 26, 27, 121-124, 136. 

Bank of the United States, 34. 

Banking, j6, 47. 

Baptists, 73. 

Barbara Frietchie, 51. 

Barca, Don C. de la, 108 

Barneveldt, John van Olden, 51. 

Barringer, 108. 

Bates, Edward, 57, 59. 

Beecher, Henry Ward, 81. 

Belgium, the Land of Art, 46. 

Bell, Alexander Graham, 24. 

Bell, P. Hansborough, 65, 67. 

Belmont, August, 80. 

Bennington, 145. 

Benton, Thomas H., 46. 

Bering's Strait, 92. 

Berrien, John McP., 57. 

Beverly, 145. 

Biddle, Commodore, 102. 

Blacks, 82, 87, 88. 

Blackstone, 3. 

Blue Book, 118. 

Boggs, Charles H., 86. 

Boston, 2, 72, 75. 

Botts, John Minor, 57. 

Boundaries, 68, ill. 

Boxers, 83. 

Brant, Joseph, 142. 

Bremer, Fredrika, 50, 51. 

Bridges, Mr. 57. 

British Blue Book. 

British sympathy with U.S.A., 79. 

Broad Seal War, 21, 22. 

Brother Jonathan, 88. 

Brown, Samuel R., 96. 

Buchanan, James, 136. 

Buffalo, 2, 3, 13, 20, 46, 73, 88, 89, 

117, 138-144, 145- 
Buffalo Historical Society, 102, 141, 

149, 150. 
Bulwer, Sir Henry, 86, 115. 
Bunker Hill, 81. 
Burns, Anthony, 72. 
Burt, David, 4. 
Buena Vista, 123. 
Byron, 4. 



i5i 



MILLARD FILLMORE 



Cabinet, 38, 39, 53, 56, 70, 102, 106, 

126, 143. 
Calhoun, John C, 11, 35, 39, 43. 

44, 45, 49, 75. 
California, 29, 41, 63, 65, 90, 97, 99, 

118, 129, 147. 
Cambreling, Churchill C, 11. 
Canada, 18, 19, 73. 
Canal enterprises, 113-118. 
Canal Zone, 117. 

Capitol, 24, 126, 127, 131, 132, 147. 
Carlyle, Thomas, 60. 
Caroline (ship), 18, 19, 146. 
Cass, Lewis, 86, 127. 
Castle Inn, 139. 
Cayuga County, 1, 4. 
Census, 1, 2, 15, 68. 
Central America, 113-118, 130, 11 1. 
Cervera, 109. 
Charles II, 98. 
Chicago, 86. 
China, 83, 99, 118, 122. 
Chinese, 6, 100. 
Chinese Museum, 38. 
Choate, Rufus, 11, 12 r. 
Christianity, 99, 100, 103, 139. 
Church and State, 29, 31. 
Civil War, 11, 69, 73, 75, 76, 102, 

137, 139- 
Civilization, 129. 
Clarv, Asa, 3, 146. 
Clay, Henry, 33, 37, 38. 4i> 49- 58, 

71, 80, 113, 123. 
Clavton-Bulwer Treaty, 115, 118. 
Clayton, John M. 115-117. 
Clergy, 9. 

Clipper ships, no, 115-118. 
Cobb, Howell, 41. 
Collier, John A., 38. 
Colonization Society, 70. 
Colorado, 65. 
Colorphobia, 95. 
Columbia River, 64. 
Columbus, 121. 
Comptroller, 33, 34, 146. 
Compromise measures, 68, 69, 121, 

123, 125. 
Confederacy, Southern, 59, 62. 
Confederate veterans, 75. 
Congress, 41, 66. 
Conrad, Charles M., 57. 
Constitution, 12, 14, 16, 32, 43, 53, 

66, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76. 



Constitutional Convention, 44. 
Constitutional Union Party, 137. 
Cook, Captain, 64. 
Conventions, 121-124. 
Corcoran, William O., 143. 
Cornell, Ezra, 50, 129. 
Cornell University, 50. 
Corson, Hiram, 50. 
Cotton, 37, 74, 88, 121. 
Corwin, Thomas, n, 59. 
Counterfeit detector, 23. 
Cranch, William, 54. 
Crittenden, Col., 107, 108. 
Crittenden, John J., 38, 57, 58, 70, 

80. 
Crusaders, 99. 
Crystal Palace, 85, 89. 
Cuba, 62, j 04-109. 
Curtis, Benjamin R., 75, 147. 
Cycle of Cathay, 85. 

Davila, 114. 

Davis, R. Harding, in. 

Davis, Jefferson, 86, 106. 

DeBow, James, D. B., 52. 

Debt, imprisonment for, 5, 146. 

Declaration of Independence, 92. 

DeForest, John H., 94. 

Democracy, 122. 

Democratic party, 29, 40-35, 41. 

Democratic-Republican party, 29. 

Democrats, 21, 35, 36, 37, 81. 

Detroit, 127. 

Devens, Charles N., 72. 

Dewey, George, 94. 

Diplomacy, 

District of Columbia, 12, 15, 113- 

119, 131, 132 
Disunionists, 75. 
Donelson, Andrew J., 135. 
Doubleday, in. 
Dred Scott case, 75. 
Drinking customs, 23. 
Duke of Wellington, 38. 
Dutch, 30, 82, 94, 96, 100. 
Dutch and Japanese, 94, 96, 100. 
Dutch law, 3. 
Dutch Republic, 5. 

Eagle, American, 87, 88. 

East, The, 76. 

East Aurora, 3, 145. 

Economics, 8, 14, 18, 22, 128, 129. 



152 



INDEX 



Education, 31, 32. 
Electoral votes, 7. 
Ellsworth, Miss, 26. 
Emancipation, 70, 104, 144. 
Emigration, 125, 128. 
English, 100. 

Episcopal Church, 139, 143, 144. 
Erben, Henry, 86. 
Erie Railroad, 106, 147. 
Erie County, 4, 11, 15, 18, 22. 
Ethics, 8, t6, 32, 118, 128, 129. 
Europe, 77, 90, 128, 148. 
European ideas in U. S. A., 31. 
Everett, Edward, 113, 118, 119, 137. 
Ewing, Thomas, n. 
Executive, duties of, 64, 68. 
Expositions, 85-89, 150. 
Express (ship) 116. 

Faneuil Hall, 72. 

Farmer, Moses. 24, 27, 129. 

Federalists, 29, 30. 

Fenians, 20, 84. 

Feudalism, 129. 

Fifty-four forty, 64. 

Filibusters, 104-112, 147. 

Fillmore, Abigail Powers, 70, 148. 

Fillmore, Caroline C, 138, 150. 

Fillmore, John, 145. 

Fillmore, Mary Abigail, 16, 148. 

Fillmore, Mrs. Phebe Powers 

(Mrs. Millard), 70, 138, 146. 
Fillmore, Millard. 

Address to the Senate, 42-49 ; 

Administration, 123, 126, 148-50 ; 

Albany, 10, 33, 34, 40 ; 

Americanism, 134-136 ; 

Ancestry, 1, 146 ; 

Anti-secrecy, 9-1 1 ; 

Autobiography, 145. 

Birth, 1 ; 
Banking, 34 ; 
Buffalo, 3, 13 ; 

Caroline affair, 18, 19 ; 
Children, 14 ; 
Chronology, 145-150 ; 
Civil War period, 139, 140 ; 
Comptroller, 14, 33, 34 ; 
Conciliatory, 67 ; 
Constitution, loyalty to, 14 ; 
Council of Six Nations, 142, 143; 



Digest of laws, 23 ; 
Dwelling house, 138, 139 ; 

Education, 2, 4 ; 

Episcopal Church, 139, 143 ; 

Europe, 135 ; 

Factions, 30 ; 
Family, 1, 16 ; 
Fireman, 132. 
Foreign policies, 16-18 ; 

Immigration, 29-32 ; 
In New York Assembly, 34 ; 
In Congress, 11, 14, 101 ; 
Independence, 14, 21, 22 ; 

Japan Expedition, 99-103 ; 

Know Nothings, 12 ; 

Lawyer, 3, 4, 14 ; 
Leader of the House, 18-25 \ 
Last sickness, 143 ; 
Letters, 122, 150 ; 

Marriage, 4 ; 

Measures initiated, 5, 6 ; 

Messages to Congress, 54, 66, 70, 

96; 
Monument in Buffalo, 117 ; 



Name, origin of, 150 ; 
Narrative, 13, 146 ; 
Neighbors in Buffalo, 138, 
New Jersey Case, 21, 22 ; 
Non-intervention, 77 ; 

Opinions about, 15, 76; 
Orders to Perry, 97 ; 

Pamphlets, 7, 21-22 ; 
Peace principles, 25, 189 ; 
Personal appearance, 42 ; 
Philanthropy, 141 ; 
Politeness, 2, 42, 82, 141 ; 

Religion, 56 ; 

Reply to Austria, 78 ; 

Schooling, 2 ; 
Secrecy, 9, 10 ; 



139 



153 



MILLARD FILLMORE 



Seward and Fillmore, 32, 35, 36 ; 

Silver Greys, 36 ; 

Speeches, 22 ; 

Signs Fugitive Slave Law, 71 ; 

Statesman, not politician, 14 ; 

Tariff bill, 22 ; 
Travels, 146 ; 

Union Continentals, 139 ; 
Union principles, 139, 140 ; 

Voice, 23 ; 

Fillmore, Millard Powers, 16, 150. 

Fillmore, name, 145. 

Fillmore, Nathaniel, 1, 140. 

Fillmore Papers, 70, 139, 150. 

Fillmore Wing, 36. 

Filmer, James, 145. 

Finance, 18, 22, 33, 34. 

Fine Arts, 1, 49, 150. 

Flag, 18, 63, 64, 72, 73, 90-94, 98, 

108, 140. 
Flogging, 92. 
Florida, 17. 

Foote, Henry S., 46, 80. 
Force, Joseph, 86. 
Forest Lawn Cemetery, 144. 
Fort Independence, 72. 
Fort Porter, 144. 
Foreign policy, 125. 
Foreigners, 29-32, 133-137- 
France, 29, 30, 77, 83, 107, 109, 126. 
Franklin, Benjamin, 44, 47. 
Franklin Relief Expedition, 92. 
Fredericksburg, 46. 
Freemasons, 9, 12, 134. 
Free States, 41. 
Fremont, John C, 64, 136. 
French, Revolutions, 9, 73, 82. 
French Republic, 82. 
Freylinghuysen, Theodore, 33. 
Frontiers, 1, 18, 19, 20, 21, 64, 63- 

68. 
Fugitive Slave Law, 60, 67, 69-76, 

120, 121, 131, 144. 

Garfield, James A., 38. 
Genesee Valley, 2. 
Genet, EdmondC, 81. 
Geography and opinions, 70. 
Germans, 30, 31, in, 133. 



Glynn, James, 93, 94. 

Glen Iris, 141, 142. 

Gorky, Maxim, 84. 

Governor's Island, 63. 

Graham, William A., 57, 59, 60, 91, 

96, 124, 136. 
Granger, Francis. 36. 
Grant, Ulysses S., 20, 144. 
Gray, Robert, 64. 

Great Britain, 29, 97, 109, 113-118. 
Greek Slave, 87. 
Greene, Daniel C, 94. 
Greenough, J. J., 86. 
Greytown, 114-116. 
Grog ration, 92. 
Grosvenor Library, 149. 
Guano, 117, 118. 

Hague, The, 139. 

Hague, Dr., 138. 

Hall, Nathan K., 14, 59. 

Halpine, Charles G., 72. 

Hamilton, Alexander, 138. 

Harris, Townsend, 89, 100, 102. 

Harrison, William Henry, 22, 24, 

123. 
Hartford Convention, 30. 
Havana, 106, 107. 
Haven, Solomon G., 14, 143. 
Hawaii, 40, 93. 
Hayashi, 100. 
Hayes, Rutherford G., 23. 
Hayne, Robert T., 49. 
Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, 117. 
Henry, Joseph, 24, 28, 86, 129. 
Hepburn, James C., 94, 96. 
Herald, New York, 86, 150. 
Hole in the Wall, 46, 47. 
Holland, 7. 

Hollister, John, 138, 139. 
Honduras, in, 115. 
Hospital, Buffalo General, 149. 
Hostner, James K., 75. 
Hosmer, Rev. Dr., 75, 76, 140. 
House of Representatives, 45. 
Huguenots, 73. 
Hull, General William, 20. 
Hulsemann, J. G., 77"8o. 
Hungary, 77. 
Hungarians, 77. 

Ichabod, 49, 51. 
Illinois, 57. 

154 



INDEX 



Immigration, 29-31, 127, 128, 133- 

136. 
Inauguration ceremonies, 53, 56. 
Inauguration day, 27, 28, 53, 56. 
Indemnities, 67. 
Indians, 17, 88, 133, 141-143. 
Indiana, 69. 
Intervention, 7r, 82. 
Interior, Secretary of, 5S. 
International Expositions, 85-89, 

150. 
International law, 118, 119. 
Iowa, 57. 
Ipswich, 145. 
Ireland, 133. 
Iroquois, 1, 141-143. 
Ithaca, 64. 
Ito, Marquis, 100. 

Jackson, Andrew, 9, 13. 

James, Duke of York, 104. 

Jameson, Mary, 142. 

Japan, 17, 25, 50, 66, 70, 77, 83,85. 

Japan Expedition, 91, 92, 95-103, 

143- 

Japanese language, 77, 100. 
Japanese proverb, 42, 128. 
Japanese race, 95. 
Jarnigan, Spencer, 24. 
Java, roi. 

Jefferson's Manual, 45. 
Jefferson, Thomas, 30. 
Jenny Lind, 81. 
Jingoism. 

Johnson, Andrew, 130. 
Johnson, Walter R., 86. 
Jones, Paul, 86. 
Jordan Valley, 92. 
Journalism, 9. 
Juan de Fuca, 64. 
Judicial decisions, 65. 

Kansas, 17. 

Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 148. 
Kearny, Stephen W., 64. 
Kempff, Louis, 83, 84. 
Kerr, Joseph Sincoe, 142. 
King, William R., 60. 
Know Nothings, io, 133-137. 
Kossuth, 77-84, 148. 
Kurihama, 100. 



Lafayette, 80, 81. 

Lakes, 13, 18, 20, 146. 

Lawrence, Abbott, 37, 38. 

Lee, Robert E., 106. 

Leisler, Jacob, 73. 

L'Enfant, Major, 131. 

Lewis, and Clark, 64. 

Liberty, 84, 88. 

Lincoln, Abraham, 49, 58, 70, 71, 

75, 102, 103, 139, 140, 141,144. 
Lobos Islands. 
Locke, 1, 145. 
Lord, John C, 143. 
London, 18. 

London Times, 71-79, 118, 121, 126. 
Lone Star Association, no. 
Lopez, Narcisco, 104, 147 
Louis Philippe, 77. 
Louisiana, no, 105-110. 
Lower California, no, in 
Lyceum. Young Men's, 146. 

Machine politics, 14. 

Macintosh, Caroline, 138, 148. 

Macintosh, Ezekiel C, 138, 148. 

Madrid, 109. 

Magna Charta, 13. 

Manifest Destiny, 104, no, 114. 

Mann, Dudley, 78. 

Mars, 63. 

Marshals, U. S., 72, 75. 

Mason and Dixon's line, 74. 

Massachusetts, 72. 142. 

Maury, Matthew F., 86. 

McDonald, Ronald, 100. 

McDufne, George, 11. 

MeKinley, William, 109, 139. 

McNab, Colonel, 18 20. 

Mediators, 94 

Messages, 103. 

Methodists, 73. 

Mexican War, 35, 62, 63, 90. 

Mexico, 39, 50, 58, 65, 84, 104, no, 

112. 
Michigan (steamer), 7, 146. 
Mikado, 100, 101. 
Miles, O'Reilly, 72. 
Military- presidents, 22, 39, 65-68. 
Millard, Phoebe, 1. 
Milton, 62. 
Missionaries, 90, 103. 
Mississippi, 46, 69, 90, 129. 



155 



MILLARD FILLMORE 



Mississippi, U. S. S. S., 79, 80, 101. 

Missouri Compromise, 39, 135, 148. 

Mohawks, 142. 

Money, 34. 

Monroe Doctrine, 100, 104, 112, 

114-119. 
Montville, 3, 145. 
Moravia, 4, 145. 
Morgan, 9. 
Mormons, 130, 131. 
Morris, Robert, 5. 
Morse, L. F. B., 24-27, 129, 146. 
Mosquito Coast and King, 1 14. 
Mountain Meadow massacre, 131. 
Mutsuhito, the Great, 27, 100. 102. 

Nagasaki, 93, 94, 100. 
Nara, 85. 
Narrative, 145. 
National Bank System, 34. 
National Government, 2, 65-68, 101. 
National Institute of Arts and Let- 
ters, 76. 
National Republicans, 11-13. 
National Supremacy, 64-68. 
Native American party, 12, 30, 133- 

137- 

Nativism, 30, 133-137. 

Navy, 58, 90-94. 

Navy Department, 93. 

Nebraska, 17. 

Negroes, 72, 73, 75, 88. 

Neutrality, 29. 

Nevada, 65. 

New Amsterdam, 2. 

New Bedford, 93. 

New England Society, 83. 

New England, 133. 

New Jersey, 86. 

New Jersey Election Case, 21, 22. 

New Mexico, 40, 63, 64-68, 15, 47. 

New Netherland, 8, 133. 

New Orleans, 105-108. 

Newspapers, 31, 82-84, 93, 94, 97, 

98. 
Newstead, 4. 

New York City, 30, 73, 85, S9. 
New York State, 1, 3, 18, 32, 33, 35, 

120, 135. 
Niagara Falls, 18. 
Nicaragua, 11, 113-119. 
Nominating Conventions, 9, 10, 48. 



Non-intervention, 77-84. 
North Carolina, 59. 
Norwich, 149. 
North, The, 8, 72, 76, 101. 
Nullification, 20, 75. 

Oaths, 56. 

Occident and Orient, 95. 

Oratory, 48. 

Oregon, 63, 64, 90. 

Orient and Occident, 95, 113. 

Oyomei philosophy, 100. 

Pacific Coast, 41, 64, 90, 118, 125, 

126, 129. 
Pacific Ocean, 126. 
Palmerston, Lord, 114-116. 
Pampero, 106, 107. 
Panama Isthmus, 92, 116-118. 
Panama-Pacific Int. Exposition, 89. 
Paris, 78. 

Parker, Emanuel, 64. 
Parker, E. S. and N. H., 142. 
Parliamentary law, 43-46. 
Parliaments, 121. 
Parties, S-n, 21. 
Peace Conference, 139, 149. 
Peacemakers, 94. 
Peace precedents, 20, 94. 
Pearce, James A., 59. 
Pennsylvania, 133. 
Pennington, William, 57. 
P£rin, Leonard, 46. 
Perry, Matthew C., 83, 91, 92, 94, 

95-100, 102, 143, 148, 150. 
Perry, William, 88. 
Personal Liberty bills, 74. 
Peru, 

Petition, Right of, 12, 13, 16. 
Phi Beta Kappa, 9. 
Phillemore, 145. 

Philadelphia, 2, 30, 37, 38, 74, 135. 
[ Philip III, 87. 
Phillips, Wendell, 72. 
Pierce, Franklin, 13, 126, 127. 
Pilgrims, 113. 
Pirates, 145. 
Pittsburg, 20. 
Plymouth Church, 81. 
Polk, James K, 13, 27, 34, 53, 63. 
Pope, 122. 
Portage, N. Y., 141. 



156 



INDEX 



Porter, Horace, 86. 

Postage Reform, 70, 125, 126. 

Postmaster-General, 59. 

Powers, Abigail, 12, 145. 

Powers, Hiram, 87, 88. 

Powers, Judge, 4. 

Powers of Congress, President, 

Supreme Court, 64-68. 
Preble, (ship), 93. 
Preble, George H., 86. 
Presidency, 44. 
President's titles, 44. 
Progressive principle, 10. 
Prometheus (ship), 116. 
Prosperity, 125-129. 
Protection, 20. 
Psychic Phenomena, 130. 
Punch, 63, 86-89, 98, 99- 
Puritanism, 72. 
Putnam, James, 6, 150. 

Queen Elizabeth, 82. 
Quitman, John A., 104. 

Race hatred, 32. 

Rail splitters, 144. 

Rayner, Kenneth, 38. 

Red Jacket, 142. 

Refugees, 73, 77. 

Religion, 32, 56. 

Relics, 81. 

Repatriation, 20, 109. 

Republican party, 136. 

Republics, 1 10. 

Revolution, American, 78, 82, 142. 

Revenue, 23. 

Revolutions, 77. 

Rhodes, James Ford, 76. 

Right of search, 109. 

Rio Grande, 65. 

Roche, James Jeffrey, in. 

Rochester, 12, 73. 

Rocky Mountains, 64. 

Roman hierarchy, 134. 

Rome, 6. 

Roosevelt, Theodore, 20, 83, 84. 

Rules of Behavior, 46. 

Russia, 84, 103, 1 18, 149. 

Rutgers College, 33. 

Sandwich Islands, 1 10. 
San Francisco, 89, no. 



vSan Juan del Porte, 114. 

vSanta Fe, 64, 65. 

Saratoga Springs, 60. 

Sargent, Nathan W., 23. 

Sartiges, M. de, 82. 

School fund, 31, 32, 38, 134. 

Scott, Mrs. Henry N., 40. 

Scott, N. F., 145. 

Scott, Winfield, 57, 58, 123,^124, 

136.^ 
Secession, 69, 71. 
Secrecy, 9, 10, 133, 134. 
Sectionalism, 51. 
Sellstedt, Lars G. , 76. 
Sempronius. 1. 
Senate, 41-47, 80, 147. 
Senate Chamber, 47, 53, 127. 
vSenecas, 142. 
Serfs, 101. 

Sessions of Congress, 41, 47. 
Seward, William H., 10, 29, 31, 36, 

37, 40, 46, 52, 80, 100, 102, 121, 

123, 135- 
Shakamaxon, 88. 
vShakespeare, 77, 140. 
Shelton, Rev. Dr., 144. 
Shepherd, Alexander R., 24. 
Silver Greys. 23, 36, 60, 121. 
Slave market, 52. 
Slavery, 35, 39, 65, 69-75, 104, 120, 

127, 128. 
Slavery, abolition of, 14, 15, 49. 
Slavery, petitions against, 12, 13. 
! Slave-power, 65, 74. 
Slavery, propaganda, 104-112, 128. 
! Slaves, 14, 101. 
1 Sloat, John D., 64. 
Saint Lawrence, 86. 
Saint Louis, 89. 
Smith, Rev. O. N., 4. 
Snuff, 47. 

Social life, 9, n, 47. 
vSonora, in. 
South Carolina, 76. 
South, The, 8, 76, 82, 101, 113, 124, 

148. 
Southern Commercial Convention, 

149. 
Southern Whigs, 120-124. 
Spain, 18, 107-109, 112, 114. 
Sparta, 1, 145. 
vSpencer, John C, 5. 



157 



MILLARD FILLMORE 



Spiritism, 130. 

Squires, Ephraim G., 114, 115. 
Stars and Stripes, 18, 72, 87, 90-94. 
State Right, 50, 58, 72, 74, 101. 
Staten Island, 8. % 

States-General, 42, 43, 45. 
Stephens, Alexander H., 41, 42. 
Stockton, Richard, 92. 
Stonewall Jackson, 52. 
Stevens, Thaddeus, 120. 
Stuart, Alexander H. H., 59. 
Stuyvesant, Peter, 133. 
Sullivan's Road, 1. 
Summer, Hill, 5, 145. 
Summers, Mr., 57. 
Summer, Charles, 17, 51. 
Supreme Court, 60, 75, 147. 
Surveying expeditions, 90. 
Syracuse, 36. 

Taft, William H., 20, 28, 33, 95. 

Taney, Roger B., 75. 

Tariff, 21, 22, 103, 146. 

Taylor, Zachary, 24, 34, 36-40, 53, 

54, 62, 65-68, 78, 105, 115, 123. 
Telegraph, 24-27, 146. 
Territories, 40, 63. 
Texas, 33, 35, 40, 64-68, 105. 
Third Parties, 10. 
Tigre Island, 113. 
Thompson, Richard W., 22, 23. 
Times, London. 
Tobacco, 74. 
Toombs, Robert, 120. 
Tories, 113. 
Treaties, 29, 65, 66, 88, 100, 102, 

113-118. 
Tribune, New York, 72. 
Turkey, 77, 81. 
Twentieth Century, 29, 34. 
Tyler, Joyn, 27. 
Typewriters, 56. 

Uncle Tom's Cabin, 53. 
Underground Railway, 69. 
Union Continentals, 139, 149. 
Union ideas, 43, 44, 49, 50, 51, 58, 

74, 75, 76, 101. 
Unitarians, 75, 140, 144. 
United States, 21, 45, 46, 68,. 99, 

101, 113, 137. 
University of Buffalo, 147. 



Utah, 65, 131, 147. 

Van Buren, Martin, 18, 20. 

Vancouver, George, 64. 

Venus, 63. 

Verbeck, GuidoM., 94. 

Vermont, 9, 101. 131. 

Veto Power, 37. 

Vice-presidency, 38, 41-46. 

Victoria, Queen, 117. 

Vienna, 78. 

Vigilance Committees, 73. 

Vinton, Mr., 58. 

Virginia, 52, 69, 72, 74, 107. 

Walker, William, 104, 110-112. 
War, 19, 20, 39. 
War-makers, 83. 
War, Civil, 60, 61, 69, 75, 76. 
War of 1812, 1, 2, 20, 30, 142. 
War powers of President, 15. 
War with Mexico, 35 
Washington City, 1, 4, 13, 23, 24, 

78, 113, 126, 131, 132. 
Washington, George, 1, 7, 20, 79, 

86, 107, 119, 131, 134. 
Washingtonians, 23. 
Waterloo, 77. 
Webster, Daniel, 11, 36, 49, 50, 51, 

56, 57, 71, 74, 76, 78-80, 107, 108, 

113, 117, 118, 121-124, 132. 
Weed, Thurlow, 10, 38, 40, 46. 
West, The, 74, 76. 
Whales and Whaling, 40, 92, 93, 99. 
Wheaton, Henry, 118. 
Whig Party, 18, 21, 22, 24, 35, 38, 

41, 60, 61, 120-124, 133, 135-137- 
White House, 34, 40, 80, 81. 
White, John, 22. 
White Sulphur Springs, 107. 
Whitman, Marcus, 64. 
Whittier, John G., 49, 51, 72. 
Wilkes, Charles, 24, 64. 
Willard, Emma, 137. 
William II, 96. 

Williams, Channing Moore, 96. 
Williams, S. Wells, 100. 
Wilmot, David, 120. 
Wilmot Proviso, 35-37, 86, 120. 
Wilson, James Grant, 150. 
Wilson, Woodrow, 20. 
Wirt, William, 11. 
Wisconsin, 57. 



158 



INDEX 



Wise, Henry, 12, 15, 23. 
Wise, John S., 13. 
Witchcraft, 142. 
Wolverine, 20. 
Wood, Judge, 5. 
Woodbury, Levi, 86. 
World's Fair, S5-89. 
Wright, Silas, 27, 33, 146. 
Wyoming, 142. 



Yacht races, 87. 

Yankee Doodle, 63, 87. 

Yankee in Europe. 85-89. 

Yankee Volunteers, 63. 

Yankeeism, 113. 

Yedo, 101, 102. 

Yokohama, 85. 

Young, Brigham, 130, 131, 147. 



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