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ally, however, an adjustment was reached under the compromise measures of 1850.
Georgia sent to the Twenty-eighth Congress (1843-1845) the following delegation: Edward J. Black, Absalom H. Chappell, Howell Cobb, Hugh A. Haralson, William H. Stiles, John H. Lumpkin, John Millen, and Mark A. Cooper. Only two of these were out and out whigs, Messrs. Black and Chappell. The latter was a brother-in-law of Gen. Mirabeau B. Lamar. John Millen died before taking his seat and to succeed him Gen. Duncan L. Clinch, a whig, was elected. Mark A. Cooper resigned to become the democratic candidate for governor in 1845 and was succeeded by Alexander H. Stephens, a whig. When Mr. Stephens entered Congress, the delegation was evenly divided between the two parties. Mr. Stiles, at the close of his term, was appointed charge d'affaires to Austria by President Polk, holding this important diplomatic office from 1845 to 1849.
Four members of the old delegation were re-elected to the Twentyninth Congress (1845-1857): Howell Cobb, Hugh A. Haralson, John Lumpkin and Alexander H. Stephens. The other members were: Seaborn Jones, a democrat; Thomas Butler King, a whig; Washington Poe, a democrat, and Robert Toombs, a whig. Mr. Poe declined a seat in Congress, and to succeed him, George W. Towns, a democrat, was elected. There were only three whigs in the Georgia delegation at this time, to wit, Messrs. King, Stephens and Toombs.
Most of these were re-elected to the Thirtieth Congress (1847-1849). There were only two new members in the state's delegation chosen at this time, viz., Alfred Iverson, a democrat, and John W. Jones, a whig. Dr. Jones was a physician and a resident of Griffin. Mr. Iverson afterwards succeeded to the toga. There were four whigs on the Georgia delegation in this Congress.
Hon. Walter T. Colquitt, having resigned the toga in 1848, Hon. Herschel V. Johnson was appointed to succeed him as United States senator for the unexpired term ; but in the fall of 1847 Hon. William C. Dawson had already been elected by the Legislature to serve for a full term of six years, to begin March 4, 1849.
George W. Towns, formerly a member of Congress, received the democratic nomination for Congress in 1847 and defeated his whig antagonist, Gen. Duncan L. Clinch. General Clinch had spent most of his life since attaining manhood in the regular army of the United States. He had fought in the War of 1812 and in the war against the Seminoles, gaining a decisive victory over the great chief, Osceola, in the Battle of Withlacoochee, in 1835, at which time he was in full command of the American forces. But finally provoked by the inefficient tactics of the War Department, he relinquished the military service with the rank of brigadier-general and retired to his plantation near St. Mary's, In 1844, General Clinch was elected to Congress to fill a vacancy caused by the death of John Millen.
It was a spirited contest waged in 1847 between the whigs and the democrats for the office of governor. But General Clinch was a soldier, not a politician. On the other hand, his successful competitor was a trained public speaker, a shrewd organizer of men, and a man of rare gifts. Nevertheless, it was by a slender majority that Mr. Towns car
ried the state and became Georgia's next governor. The vote stood : Towns, 43,220; Clinch, 41,931.*
The Legislature was largely concerned with matters of finance and there were few measures of general interest enacted into law. During the next year, as we have already noted in this chapter, the Mexican war was brought to a successful conclusion.
General Zachary Taylor became the idolized popular hero. “Old Rough and Ready," the sobriquet by which he was known to his men, received universal adoption. In the campaign of 1848, General Taylor was made the standard bearer of the national whig party for president. He received Georgia's support and won the presidency over General Lewis Cass and ex-President Martin Van Buren. Georgia's electors in 1848 were as follows: From the state at large, William Terrell and Seaton Grantland; district electors, H., W. Sharp, Warren Akin, William H. Crawford, Asbury Hull, A. W. Redding, Y. P. King, William Moseley and George Stapleton.**
But General Taylor was already well advanced in years when he entered the White House; and too feeble to sustain for a protracted season the weight of great official responsibilities he died in 1850 and was succeeded by Vice-President Millard Fillmore.
On organizing his cabinet, General Taylor appointed George W. Crawford, of Georgia, secretary of war, an office which he continued to hold under President Fillmore. Mr. Crawford had just relinquished the governorship of his native state when called to this high official responsibility at the national seat of government.
Joseph E. Brown first made his appearance on the stage of Georgia politics in the fall of 1849 as a member of the State Senate. He represented what was then the Forty-first District, under the old division. Slight of figure, in manner somewhat reserved, he took no declaratory or boisterous part in the debates, spoke seldom, was always calm, unemotional, and to the point. Except for an accent peculiar to the mountaineer, there was little about the new senator to attract a superficial observer. But Judge Andrew J. Miller, one of his colleagues, was not slow to discover in him one of the coming men of Georgia ; nor did he hesitate to put himself on record with this prediction: “Joe Brown will yet stamp the impress of his genius upon the future history of the state.” 1 Alfred H. Colquitt was at this same session an assistant secretary of the Senate. Here were two Georgians for whom the highest honors of the state were reserved, including both the governorship and the toga.t
H-J, 1847, p. 29. ** "Lanman's Biographical Annals of the United States Government,
p. 529-530. I“ History of Georgia, 1850-1881, I. W. Avery, p. 21.
+ One of the notable battles in this Legislature was over a measure that became in those days known as the hobby of Andrew J. Miller, called his “Woman's bill.” The object was to secure to married women their own property independent of the husband. Miller was sent to the Legislature time and again, and at every session he introduced this measure, only to be repeatedly defeated. It finally became the law, and its success was due to the persistent agitation of the persevering Miller. Joseph E. Brown had the old-fashioned notions of the marital relation and fought all of these new-fangled ideas. Miller's Woman's Bill was defeated by a vote of twenty-one yeas to twenty-three nays in the Senate, Brown voting no. A bill to limit
To the national Congress in 1848 Georgia elected a ticket on which there were several whigs, but a careful analysis of the election returns will show that the state was slowly drifting from the old whig moorings. Her representatives chosen to the Thirty-first Congress (18491851) were: Howell Cobb, Thomas C. Hackett, Hugh A. Haralson, Thomas Butler King, Allen F. Owen, Alexander H. Stephens, Robert Toombs, and Marshal J. Wellborn. Four of these were whigs-Messrs. King, Owens, Toombs and Stephens. But Mr. King resigned his seat in 1849 to become collector of the Port of San Francisco, and was succeeded by Joseph W. Jackson, of Savannah, a democrat. This reduced the whig strength in the Georgia delegation to only three members.
As we have already seen, Mr. King was the first man of any prominence in the United States to conceive the idea of a transcontinental line, connecting the two oceans. He was a wealthy sea-island cotton planter and a man of extensive commercial operations. Mr. Hackett is scarcely remembered at the present day, due largely to his early death. He served only one term in Congress, dying at Marietta, Georgia, on October 8, 1851. Mr. Owen likewise served only one term in Congress, but afterwards became consul-general at Havana.
He was a resident of Talbotton, Georgia. Judge Wellborn withdrew from public life at the close of his term and in 1864 became a Baptist minister. He lived for a number of years in Columbus.
Howell Cobb, a democrat, was elected speaker of the House, when Congress assembled in December. His whig colleagues did not support him, but connived at the result by supporting a member who was not a candidate for the speakership. Realizing that slavery was endangered, there had been an effort made at coalition between the Southern wings of both parties, and for days there had been a deadlock. Turbulent scenes were enacted; but finally, over a most violent protest from Mr. Toombs, a proposition prevailed to chose a speaker by a mere plurality vote; and when the decisive ballot was taken Mr. Cobb won. It was a stormy session over which Mr. Cobb presided, but his skill as a parliamentarian and his evident desire to be just in his rulings made him an ideal presiding officer and he gave great satisfaction to both sides.
To understand the prevailing unrest which characterized the public mind at this time and which reached an acute expression in the delibations of Congress, we must note the results of the Mexican war. Growing out of this conflict, as we have already observed, the United States acquired a vast area of country, extending the national domain to the Pacific Ocean. The discovery of the yellow metal in 1848 gave a tremendous impulse to the drift of population westward and started a multitude of feverish fortune hunters toward the Golden Gate. So rapidly was the new territory settled that, in 1849, its inhabitants applied for admission into the Union. But there was a clause in the Constitution
the liability of husbands for debts of wives' incurred before marriage, did pass the Senate, however, and Brown vindicated his consistency by voting against it. During the consideration of the Woman's Bill Judge Richard H. Clark offered an amendment submitting the Woman's Bill to a popular vote at the governor's election in 1851. Senator Woods proposed an amendment allowing females between sixteen and fifty years to vote. The amendments were both rejected by only a small majority. -Ibid., p. 21.
prohibiting slavery. Consequently the South made strenuous objection. Since half of the territory lay south of 36 degrees, 30 minutes, it was proposed to apply to it the principle of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, under which slavery was excluded only from the region of territory north of this line. Moreover, a fugitive slave law was demanded, as a means of safeguarding rights guaranteed by the Constitution. There were a number of bills before Congress, and amid the conflicting issues which arose at this time, the Union was greatly imperiled. Some of the Southern leaders made speeches the effect of which was to inflame the minds of people at home.
Acting upon advice from Washington, the Georgia Legislature called a convention to meet in Milledgeville on December 10, 1850. The people were stirred to a high pitch of excitement. Mass meetings had been held during the summer at which such spellbinders as Rhett, of South Carolina, Yancey, of Alabama, and ex-Governor Charles J. McDonald, of Georgia, and other advocates of extreme state rights, had spoken with powerful effect. Meanwhile, however, Mr. Clay had come forward with his famous Omnibus Bill. Its provisions were these : to admit California without slavery; to permit New Mexico and Utah to settle the question for themselves; to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia ; and to re-enact a law compelling the return of escaped slaves. This was the last of Mr. Clay's great achievements as a compromiser, and was known as the Compromise of 1850. It introduced for the first time what was afterwards known as the principle of “Squatter Sovereignty," a principle which left to the settlers themselves the right to settle the slavery question in the territories. Both sides accepted this compromise as the crystalized wisdom of the hour.
Georgia's entire delegation supported the compromise, whigs and democrats uniting. But the secessional fires kindled in Georgia by the impassioned oratory of this turbulent hour, both in and out of Congress, were still crackling; and to extinguish the blaze before its incendiary flames could endanger the Union, Messrs. Toombs, Stephens and Cobb hastened home and plunged into the campaign which was then in progress for the election of delegates to the Milledgeville Convention. There was a widespread misconception in Georgia as to the exact status in which the Compromise of 1850 left matters, but these trusted leaders cleared the atmosphere. Hostility was disarmed; and to the convention which assembled at Milledgeville, on December 10, 1850, a majority of the delegates chosen were Union men. It fell to Hon. Charles J. Jenkins, of Richmond, as chairman of a committee appointed for this purpose, to draft the convention's report; and this report became justly famous as the Georgia Platform of 1850. Setting forth Georgia's strong attachment to the Union, it deplored the slavery agitation, asserted the right of the state to settle this question for themselves, avowed a willingness
accept the compromise measures of Mr. Clay, but declared it to be Georgia's duty and determination to resist any measure of Congress to disturb the peace or to invade the rights of the slaveholding states. This report was adopted. It quieted the situation. Georgia's action produced a tranquilizing effect upon other states, and historians are agreed ·
that this happy solution of a grave problem deferred the great Civil war for at least ten years. I
In 1849, Governor Towns was renominated and re-elected by the democrats. His competitor, at this time, was Judge E. Y. Hill, a whig. Again it was by a small majority that the democratic candidate won. Judge Hill was a man of high character and of wide influence throughout the state, and he polled 43,322 votes in the popular election against 46,514.cast for Governor Towns. The power of the whig party in Georgia was beginning slowly to wane, due to a suspected lukewarmness on the part of its Northern members toward slavery. As a party, the whigs had not favored the annexation of Texas, which meant an additional slave state; nor had they favored the Mexican war.
Two new counties were created by the Legislature of 1850: Clinch and Gordon. The former of these was laid off from Wayne and was called Clinch in honor of Gen. Duncan L. Clinch, a former member of Congress and a successful Indian fighter. Gordon was detached from Floyd and Cass and was named for Hon. W. W. Gordon, the first president of the Central of Georgia and one of the state's industrial captains.
On November 10, 1850, the Roman Catholic Church in Georgia was organized into a separate jurisdiction called the See of Savannah. Right Rev. Francis X. Garland became its first bishop. This distinguished ecclesiastic was beloved by all, regardless of creed. He died of yellow fever, a malady which he contracted during the famous epidemic of 1854 in Savannah, while caring for the sick.
Georgia's population, according to the Federal census of 1850, was little short of a round million. To give the exact figures, it disclosed a total of 906,185 inhabitants, of which number 384,613 were slaves. The state's annual yield of cotton at this time was 500,000 bales; of wheat, 1,000,000 bushels; of oats, 4,000,000 bushels; and of corn, 30,000,000 bushels. The value of its crops was $47,000,000. Exports reached $9,000,000. Imports totaled only $700,000. As compared with 1840, these statistics indicated a rapid growth in material wealth.||
#History of Georgia,” R. P. Brooks, p. 244.
1 WM. W. GORDON: MONUMENT TO THE RAILWAY PIONEER.-One of the most beautiful monuments in the City of Savannah is the handsome structure of marble, in Courthouse Square, commemorating the useful life of the great pioneer of railway development in Georgia: William Washington Gordon. He died at the early age of forty-six. The Gordon monument in Savannah is unique. Resting upon a solid pedestal of granite, it consists of four handsome columns of Scotch marble. These enclose at the base an urn of artistic workmanship and support at the top a globe of great weight. The symbolism is beautifully in keeping with the career of usefulness which it thus commemorates. On the east side of the monument is portrayed a trestle over which a locomotive is drawing a train of cars. On the south side, an inscription reads thus:
“William Washington Gordon. Born January 17, 1796. Died March 20, 1842. The Pioneer of Works of Internal Improvement in his native State and the first President of the Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia, to which he gave his time, his talents and finally his life.''
On the west side is inscribed the following:
“Erected A. D. 1882 by the Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia in Honor of a Brave Man, a Faithful and Devoted Officer, and to Preserve his Name in the Grateful Remembrances of
his Fellow Citizens." || “History of Georgia,” L. B. Evans, p. 259.