The second number of Buchanan’s organ explained how it was that I became a supporter of a policy I had so long opposed. Gen. Lowrie owned Northern Minnesota, land and inhabitants, bought folks up as fast as they came to it, and had bought me. He was going to support the Visiter great power and glory, if it gave satisfaction as a democratic organ. I would work hard for the money, and it would be odd if any one gave Mr. Buchanan a more enthusiastic support than I. Indeed, I was his only honest supporter. All the others pretended he was going to do something quite foreign to his purpose, while I was in his confidence. The one sole object of his administration was the perpetuation and spread of slavery, and this object the Visiter would support with the best arguments in its power.
This was vitriol dressing on a raw wound, and the suppression of the Visiter was expected by Judge Lynch. Brave men held their breath to see me beard the lion in his den, not knowing my armor as I did.
Then came an announcement with a great flourish of trumpets of a lecture on “Woman,” by the Hon. Shepley, the great legal light and democratic orator of Minnesota. The lecture was delivered in due time to a densely packed house, and was as insulting as possible. The lecture divided women into four classes—coquettes, flirts, totally depraved, and strong-minded. He painted each class and found some redeeming trait in all save the last.
The speaker might as well have named me as the object of his attack, and his charges thus publicly made were not to be misunderstood. At every point there were rounds and shouts of applause by clacquers, and brother Harry once rose in a towering rage, but I dragged him down and begged him to keep quiet.
In my review of the lecture, I praised it, commended its eloquence and points, but suggested that the learned gentleman had not included all women in his classification. For instance, he had left out the frontier belle who sat up all night playing cards with gentlemen; could beat any man at a game of poker, and laugh loud enough to be heard above the roaring of a river. In this I struck at gambling as a social amusement, which was then rapidly coming into fashion in our little city, and which to me was new and alarming.
Mr. Shepley pretended to think that the picture resembled his wife, and this idea was seized upon as drowning men catch at straws. Behind this they sought to conceal the whole significance of the quarrel. Gen. Lowrie cared not for my attacks on himself. Oh, no, indeed! He was suddenly seized by a fit of chivalry, and would defend to the death, a lady whom he had never seen.
An effort was made to dispose of me by mob, as a means of clearing the moral atmosphere of the city. It was being discussed in a grocery while “Tom” Alden lay on the counter. He rose, brought down his big fist, and with a preface of oaths, said: