by the Governor of Mississippi to the vacancy in the United States Senate caused by the death of Senator Spight, and took his seat December 6, 1847; was unanimously elected by the Legislature in January, 1848, for the remainder of the term, and in 1850 was reëlected for a full term. He was made Chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, and here, as in the House, he was active in the discussions of the slavery question in its various phases, the Compromise Measures of 1850, and all other important issues. He said he saw very little in the compromise legislation favorable to the Southern States, and declared that to his view of it, "it bore the impress of that sectional spirit so widely at variance with the general purposes of the Union and destructive of the harmony and mutual benefit which the Constitution was intended to secure." He favored the extension of the Missouri compromise line to the Pacific Ocean, and was at all times an earnest and ardent advocate of the rights of the States. Although just fairly entering upon a full term of six years in the Senate, with almost a certainty of continued service in that distinguished body, he resigned his seat therein after a brief service, and accepted the nomination for governor of his State. His party at the preceding election had been defeated by over seven thousand majority, and while he was defeated at the election in 1851, he reduced the majority to nine hundred and ninety-nine. After a year's retirement he was appointed Secretary of War in the Cabinet of Mr. Pierce, whom he had warmly supported for the presidency, and administered the office with great ability. He made important and valuable reforms in the military service while filling the office of Secretary of War. Among them were the introduction of an improved system of infantry tactics, iron gun carriages, rifled muskets and pistols, and the use of the Minie ball. Four regiments were added to the army, the defenses on the seacoast and frontier were strengthened, and, as a result of experiments, heavy guns were cast hollow, and a larger grain of powder was adopted. He promoted surveys of the Western Territories with a view to the construction of a railroad to the Pacific, which he had favored as a Senator, and was deeply interested in the extension of the Capitol at Washington City. At the close of Mr. Pierce's term he left the Cabinet, and in the same year (1857) again entered the Senate. He opposed the bill to pay French spoliation claims, advocated the southern
Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/47
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