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WILLIAM LOWNDES YANCEY (1814-1863)

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 903 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WILLIAM LOWNDES YANCEY (1814-1863), American political leader, son of Benjamin Cudworth Yancey, an able lawyer of South Carolina, of Welsh descent, was born near the Falls of the Ogeechee, Warren county, Georgia, on the loth of August 1814. After his father's death in 1817, his mother remarried and removed to Troy, New York. Yancey attended Williams College for one year, studied law at Greenville, South Carolina, and was admitted to the bar. As editor of the Greenville (South Carolina) Mountaineer (1834—35), he ardently opposed nullification. In 1835 he married a wealthy woman, and in the winter of 1836—1837 removed to her plantation in Alabama, near Cahaba (Dallas county), and edited weekly papers there and in Wetumpka (Elmore county), his summer home. The accidental poisoning of his slaves in 1839 forced him todevote himself entirely to law and journalism; he was now an impassioned advocate of State's Rights and supported Van Buren in the presidential campaign of 184o. He was elected in 1841 to the state House of Representatives, in which he served for one year; became state senator in 1843, and in 1844 was elected to the national House of Representatives to fill a vacancy, being re-elected in 1845. In Congress his ability and his unusual oratorical gifts at once gained recognition. In 1846, however, he resigned his seat, partly on account of poverty, and partly because of his disgust with the Northern Democrats, whom he accused of sacrificing their principles to their economic interests. His entire energy was now devoted to the task of exciting resistance to anti-slavery aggression. In 1848 he secured the adoption by the state Democratic convention of the so-called " Alabama Platform," which was endorsed by the legislatures of Alabama and Georgia and by Democratic state conventions in Florida and Virginia, declaring that it was the duty of Congress not only to allow slavery in all the territories but to protect it, that a territorial legislature could not exclude it, and that the Democratic party should not support for president or vice-president a candidate " not . . openly and unequivocally opposed to either of the forms of excluding slavery from the territories of the United States mentioned in these resolutions." When the conservative majority in the national Democratic convention in Baltimore refused to incorporate his ideas into the platform, Yancey with one colleague left the convention and wrote an Address to the People of Alabama, defending his course and denouncing the cowardice of his associates. Naturally, he opposed the Compromise of 185o, and went so far as openly to advocate secession; but the conservative element was in control of the state. Disappointment of the South with the results of " Squatter Sovereignty " caused a reaction in his favour, and in r858 he wrote a letter advocating the appointment of committees of safety, the formation of a League of United Southerners, and the repeal of the laws making the African slave-trade piracy. After twelve years' absence from the national conventions of the Democratic party, he attended the Charleston convention in April 186o, and again demanded the adoption of his ideas. Defeated by a small majority, he again left the hall,' followed this time by the delegates of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, and two of the three delegates from Delaware. On the next day the Georgia delegation and a majority of the Arkansas delegation withdrew. In the Baltimore convention of the seceders he advocated the nomination of John C. Breckinridge, and he made a tour of the country on his behalf. In Alabama he was the guiding spirit in the secession convention and delivered the address of welcome to Jefferson Davis on his arrival at Montgomery. He refused a place in President Davis's cabinet. On the 31st of March 1861 he sailed for Europe as the head of a commission sent to secure recognition of the Confederate government, but returned in 1862 to take a seat in the Confederate Senate, in which he advocated a more vigorous prosecution of the war. On account of his failing health, he left Richmond early in 1863, and on the 27th of July died at his home near Montgomery. See J. W. Du Bose, Life and Times of W. L. Yancey (Birmingham, Ala., 1892) ; W. G. Brown, The Lower South in American History (New York, 19o2); and Joseph Hodgson, The Cradle of the Confederacy (Mobile, Ala., 1876). YANG-CHOW FU, a prefectural city in the province of Kiangsu, China, forming the two distinct cities of Kiang-tu and Kanch`tian, on the Grand Canal, in 32° 21' N., 119° 15' E. Pop. about roo,000. The walls are between three and four miles in circumference. The streets are well supplied with shops, and there are handsome temples, colleges, and other public buildings. There was a serious religious outbreak in 1868, when Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission, opened a station here; but Yang-chow is now one of the centres of the Protestant ' It is probable that Yancey was approached with the offer of the vice-presidential nomination on the Douglas ticket by George N. Sanders. There was a movement to nominate him on the ticket with Breckinridge also. missionaries in the province. Yang-chow Fu possesses an early historical connexion with foreigners, for Marco Polo ruled over it for three years by appointment from Kublai Khan (?1282—85). YANGTSZE-KIANG, a great river of China, and the principal commercial watercourse of the country. It is formed by the junction of a series of small streams draining the E. slopes of the Tibetan plateau, and for the first third of its course flows almost parallel with the Mekong and the Salween, each, however, separated from the other by intervening ridges of great height. The total length of the Yangtsze is calculated to be not less than 3000 M. Although the term Yangtsze is applied by Europeans to the whole course of the river, in China it indicates only the last three or four hundred miles, where it flows through a division of the empire which in ancient time was known as " Yang," a name which also survives in the city of Yang-Chow in the province of Kiang-su. The ordinary official name for the whole river is Ch'ang Kiang (pronounced in the north, Chiang) or Ta Chiang, meaning the " long river " or the " great river." Popularly in the upper reaches every section has its local name. As it emerges from Tibet into China it is known as the Kinsha Kiang or river of Golden Sand, and farther down as the Pai-shui Kiang. In Sze-ch'uen, after its junction with the large tributary known as the Min, it is for some distance called the Min-kiang, the people being of opinion that the Min branch is in fact the main river. The fall in the upper reaches is very rapid. At the junction of the two main affluents in Upper Tibet, where the river is already a formidable torrent barely fordable at low water, the altitude is estimated at 13,000 ft. From Patang (8J40 ft.) to R'a-Wu in Sze-ch'uen (1900 ft.) the fall is about 8 ft. per mile, thence to Hwang-kwo-shu (1200 ft.) about 6 ft. per mile, and farther down to Pingshan (1039 ft.) the fall is about ,; ft. per mile. At Pingshan, in the province of Sze-ch'uen, the river first becomes navigable, and the fall decreases to about 6 in. per mile down to Chungk'ing (63o ft.). From Chungk'ing through the gorges to Ich'ang (13o ft.), a distance of nearly 400 m., the fall again increases to about 14 in. per mile; but from Ich'ang down to the sea, a distance of r000 m., the fall is exceedingly small, being as far as Hankow at the rate of 2$ in., and from Hankow to the mouth at the rate of little more than 1 in. per mile. The last 200 M. are practically a dead level, for at low-water season there is a rise of tide enough to swing ships as far up as Wuhu, 200 n1. from the mouth. The principal tributaries, counting from the sea upwards, are: (I) the outlet from Poyang lake, draining the province of Kiang-si; (2) the Han river, entering on the left bank at Hankow; (3) the outlet from Tungt'ing lake on the right bank, draining the province of Hu'nan; (4) the three great rivers of Sze-ch'uen, the Kialing, the To Kiang and the Min, all entering on the left bank; and (5) the Yaiung, draining a vast area on the borderland between Sze-ch'uen and Tibet. The whole drainage area is about 65o,000 sq. m., of which more than four-fifths lie above Hankow. The period of low water is from December to March. The melting of the snows on the Tibetan highlands combined with the summer rainfall causes an annual rise in the river of from 7o to 90 ft. at Chungk'ing and from 40 to 50 at Hankow and Kiukiang. The mean volume of water discharged into the sea is estimated at 770,000 cub. ft. per second. The quantity of sediment carried in solution and deposited at the mouth is similarly estimated at 6428 million cub. ft. per annum, representing a subaerial denudation of the whole drainage area at the rate of one foot in 3707 years. (See Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. xvi., Dr Guppy.) The Yangtsze-kiang forms a highway of first-class importance. As the rise in the river is only about 130 ft. for the first loon m., it resembles a huge canal expressly formed for steam navigation. Except at winter low water, steamers of 5000 or 6000 tons can reach Hankow with ease. Between Hankow and Ich'ang, especially above the outlet from Tungt'ing lake, the volume of water diminishes very much, and as the channel is continually shifting with the shifting sand-banks, navigation is more difficult. Above Ich'ang, where the river flows" between rocky gorges, and where a series of rapids are encountered, navigation is still more difficult. But taking the Yangtsze as a whole, with its numerous subsidiary streams, canals and lakes, it forms a highway of communication unrivalled in any other country in the world. About half the sea-borne coinmerce of all China is further distributed by means of the Yangtsze and its connexions, not to mention the interchange of native pro-duce between the provinces, which is carried by native sailing craft numbered by thousands. The Yangtsze valley as a political term indicates the sphere ofinfluence or development which by international agreement waa assigned to Great Britain. This was first acquired in a somewhat negative manner by the Chinese government giving an undertaking, which they did in 1898, not to alienate any part of the Yangtsze valley to any other power. A more formal recognition of the British claim was embodied in the agreement between the British and Russian governments in 1899 for the delimitation of their respective railway interests in China, Russia agreeing not to interfere with British projects in the basin of the Yangtsze, and Great Britain agreeing not to interfere with Russian projects north of the Great Wall (Manchuria). The basin or valley of the Yangtsze was de-fined to comprise all the provinces bordering on the Yangtsze river, together with the provinces of Ho-nan and Chehekiang. This agreement was communicated to the Chinese government, and has been generally acknowledged. The object of the negotiations was to guard against conflict of railway interests; in all other respects the policy known as that of the " open door " was advocated by Great Britain and the chief commercial states. This policy was more fully declared by mutual engagements entered into in 1900 by the Great Powers on the initiative of the United States, whereby each undertook to guarantee equality of treatment to the commerce of all nations within its own sphere. As to railway enterprise, an agreement of 1910 admitted French, German and American financial interests equally with those of great Britain in the projected line from Hankow to Sze-ch'uen. (G. J.)
End of Article: WILLIAM LOWNDES YANCEY (1814-1863)
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