Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis - Vol. 1

By Ben: Perley Poore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XLIII.

PRELUDE TO THE REBELLION.

ORGANIZATION OF THE SENATE--JOHN SLIDELL, OF LOUISIANA--SENA- TOR DOUGLAS OPPOSES THE ADMINISTRATION--BEN WADE'S BON MOT --MEETING OF THE HOUSE--ELECTION OF SPEAKER--INVESTIGATION OF THE WOLCOTT ATTEMPT AT BRIBERY--DEBATES ON THE ADMISSION OF KANSAS--NOCTURNAL ROW IN THE HOUSE--THE NORTH VICTORIOUS.

GENERAL THOMAS J. RUSK, United States Senator from Texas, who had fought bravely at the battle of San Jacinto, had committed suicide during the summer. He had been elected President pro tempore of the Senate, and the Senate elected as his successor Senator Fitzpatrick, of Alabama, a tall, fine-looking man, whose wife was a great favorite in Washington society. He received twentyeight votes, Mr. Hamlin receiving nineteen votes, and voting himself for Mr. Seward, which showed the Republican strength in the Senate to be twenty.

The leader of the Southern forces in the Senate was Mr. John Slidell, who was born in New York, but found his way, when young, to New Orleans, where he soon identified himself with the Creole population and became noted as a political manager. His organization of the colonization of the Plaquemine Parish, by a steamboat load of roughs from New Orleans, secured the defeat of Henry Clay in Louisiana and virtually prevented his election as President. Wealthy, and without conscientious scruples on political matters he

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