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he achieved a signal and memorable success. It was Andrew Jackson's State; and Mr. Grundy was not only exceedingly popular on his own account, but was shielded by the influence and cheered by the support of the hero of New Orleans, then a candidate for the Presidency against the younger Adams. may be imagined, the canvass was most exciting, and retains a place in the general political history of that day. It was carried on for twelve months; and Mr. Bell, in the face of the powerful odds against him, was elected, in 1827, by a majority of one thousand. The hold thus won on the people of his district successively elected Mr. Bell to the House of Representatives for fourteen years, during which period his name was prominently before the country in connection with the most important debates and measures.

He entered into national politics in a spirit friendly to General Jackson and John C. Calhoun; but he differed from both on their most favorite projects,—to wit, the removal of the bank-deposits in the case of the former, and the South Carolina doctrine of nullification of the latter. Mr. Bell was in favor of a United States Bank, but voted against its re-charter in 1832; in the first place, believing that the agitation of the subject at that time was conjured up to promote the defeat of General Jackson's chances in the ensuing Presidential election; in the second place, because it was four years before the old charter would expire; and again, because he was convinced the President would—as he did—veto the bill. His firm protest against the removal of the deposits was followed by as firm a refusal to vote for the resolution approving that measure; and thus the alienation of Mr. Bell from Jackson and the Democratic party was initiated.

At first Mr. Bell was energetically opposed to the protective system, and made a speech against it in 1832; but more extended reflection and study of the matter wrought a change in his opinions, and he has ever since, when the question has arisen, devoted his ability and influence to the support of the policy of protecting American industry. Mr. Bell has also advocated the improvement of the great rivers and lake-harbors, and opposed indiscriminate appropriations for “internal improvements” on roads and canals, except in an instance such as that of the Pacific Railroad. Opposing the nullification doctrine, he was appointed Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House, with special reference to the questions connected with that subject which might have to be considered and reported on. He was also Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs for ten years.

Mr. Bell's secession from the Democratic and co-operation with the Whig party, which commenced with his refusal to vote for the removal of the deposits, was much accelerated by his election to the Speakership of the House of Representatives in 1834. Mr. Speaker Stevenson, having been appointed Minister to Great Britain, resigned the presiding chair of the House, and Mr. Bell was elected to succeed him, in opposition to James K. Polk. It was a great personal triumph for the successful candidate, and widened the breach already made; as Polk, besides being a Tennesseean, was the nominee of the Democratic party and had the recommendation of the Administration. Those Democrats who were opposed to Van Buren as the successor of President Jackson joined with the Whigs in opposition to the Administration candidate, and thus secured the elevation of Bell to the Speakership of the popular branch of the National Legislature,—the third office of the Government. The principal ground of Mr. Bell's opposition to Mr. Van Buren was his strong disapproval of the system of removals from subordinate offices for merely political reasons,-a system which Mr. Van Buren had zealously promoted in the party conflicts of the State of New York, and which it was supposed he intended to carry out to its full extent in the administration of the Federal Government. Mr. Bell had vividly portrayed the tendencies of such an exercise of Executive patronage, in a speech in the House on the freedom of elections; and he had made frequent though ineffectual efforts, in successive Congresses, to procure the enactment of laws calculated to check the policy.*

The rupture between Mr. Bell and Jackson culminated in 1835, when the former completely threw off all allegiance to the latter by opposing Van Buren and declaring for Judge White as the Presidential successor. Tennessee had thus far gone with Jackson's administration; and it could scarcely be anticipated that the agitation of White and his associates could lift itself into a stalwart opposition, or that, if it did, the personal and political influence of “the Great Chief” could fail to quell it. But the ways of the politician are inscrutable. White carried Tennessee by a large majority; Bell was re-elected to Congress -even from the Hermitage district—by as great a vote as before; and thus was commenced and fostered that opposition to the Democracy in that State, which so potently arrayed itself in the several succeeding Presidential elections, and which has so strongly manifested itself under the leadership of Mr. Bell in the recent elections there.

* New American Cyclopædia, &c., edited by George Ripley and Charles A. Dana, N.Y. Vol. III.

Mr. Bell favored the reception of petitions for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and in 1836 and 1838 distinguished himself in speeches upon that question.

In 1841, he went into the Cabinet of General Harrison as Secretary of War, but resigned in the autumn of that year, when Mr. Tyler—who had succeeded to the Presidency on the death of Harrison-separated from the Whig party. The next Tennessee Legislature, in consideration of Mr. Bell's consistency as a Whig, offered him the United States Senatorship; but he declined the honor in favor of Ephraim H. Foster, whose services to the Whig party Mr. Bell thought deserving of such eminent recognition. Foster was, therefore, elected; and Bell retired into privacy for nearly six years, when, at the desire of his county, he entered the State Senate, (1847.) The same year, a vacancy occurring in the United States Senate, he was elected to that office, and subsequently, in 1853, re-elected for the term which expired March 4, 1859.

In this national arena Senator Bell acquired large repute, and his position on the leading questions cannot be omitted from the history of the times. He favored the Compromise Measures of 1850, and desired to see the issues fully settled by a division of Texas into States. He opposed the Nebraska Bill, and on the 3d of March, 1854, gave his objections at length, and with such force as to draw replies from Senators Dawson, Douglas, and other leading advocates of the measure. Senator Bell had opposed the Nebraska Bill of the previous session when it contained no provision relative to the Missouri Compromise. He had not heard of any proposition to repeal the latter until it was offered in direct terms by Senator Dixon, of Kentucky. Mr.


Bell's first objection was, that there was no necessity for the

It was an anomaly to establish Governments to extend over immense Territories in which there was no white population whose wants required such Governments. He thought the demand for Territorial Governments should be proven in anticipation of an increase of population by emigration and other means; that provision ought to be made for the tribes beyond Wind Hills and in the Rocky Mountains; that information of the number of necessary military posts should be laid before Congress; and full details of this policy of extending the Government so far beyond the present limits of civilization. There were 300,000,000 acres in these Territories. They would support an empire. It was a magnificent idea to build up an immense empire; and he knew not which most to admire,—the genius or boldness displayed by Senator Douglas in the conception of, and the pressing of the measure to carry out, his grand idea. He thought the Senator from Illinois had for some time had a mania for establishing new Governments. He was the author of the New Mexico and Utah Bills, and also of Washington Territory. He had already laid the foundation of three powerful Governments, and now proposed to erect two more. Not content with the glory of being Conditor Imperii, the Senator was emulous of the fame of Clarissimus-Conditor Imperiorum. Mr. Bell's next objection arose out of the provisions touching the Indian tribes. Those Indians who had been carried to this Territory from east of the Mississippi had been guaranteed a home never to be surrounded by any Territorial Government. He had examined the bill, and held that, as it stood, it was a clear, explicit violation of the Indian treaties. In this connection, he condemned the course of those who made such ado about breaking faith with the African race, and did not say a word in behalf of the Indians. “The Wilberforces of the Senate,” said he, “had no word of sympathy with any persons if they were not Africans.”

In 1856, (May 27,) Senator Bell took a decided stand on the Mississippi River Bill, introduced by Senator Slidell, for the opening of the mouth of the Father of Waters. The bill, which had been vetoed by President Pierce, led to a warm discussion on its reconsideration. Mr. Toombs having taken a leading part against the bill and in favor of the veto, Mr. Bell


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thought the Senator from Georgia commenced at the wrong point in attempting to prevent any appropriations for the removal of obstructions from the mouth of the river which concerns a large valley and the whole interior of the country between the Rocky Mountains and the Alleghanies, to say nothing of the navigation upon the lakes, between the ports of the Northeast and the Northwest. The expenditure of one, or even two millions annually in keeping open the great river, would be no more than an equivalent for the expenditures on the Atlantic coast.

“Sir," said Mr. Bell, “we have the Mississippi washing Tennessee on one extremity; we have the Cumberland running through our State to float off our heavy produce, our cotton and tobacco. The Senator from Georgia will allow no improvement for the Mississippi River, because he thinks it unequal; and he alludes to the fact of Tennessee having spent $10,000,000 in order to enable the people from the interior of that State to send their products to foreign markets, by making a connection with the Georgia roads. Georgia reaps a great benefit from that trade. Charleston shares a portion of it; but the greater benefit of it goes to Augusta and Savannah. We are forced to take our cotton to Savannah and Charleston, at an expense of two or three dollars a bale; when, if we could take it down the Mississippi, the cost would not be more than one dollar, or one dollar and twenty-five cents.”*

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In the Thirty-Fifth Congress, Senator Bell's course on the leading topics brought his name still more prominently before

In view of the recent success of the Opposition in Tennessee, it is interesting to know that the Legislature, early in 1858, passed resolutions instructing its representatives in Congress to vote for the admission of Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution. On the presentation of these resolutions to the Senate, Mr. Bell reviewed them at length with his accustomed piquancy, and justified his opposition to them. His colleague, Senator Johnson, replied, defending the instructions of the State Legislature; and, Mr. Bell taking exception to some of Mr. Johnson's remarks, a debate sprung up which occupied the whole of the 23d of February, 1858. Unpleasant results were anticipated; but, on the 25th, both gentlemen made personal explanations, each evincing a spirit becoming the Senatorial character.

In the great Lecompton debate of March, 1858, Senator Bell

* Cong. Globe, 1st Sess. 34th Cong. p. 1310, &c.

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