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greater historical importance than the KansasNebraska bill. By that act the Missouri Compromise was repealed and the final conflict entered upon with the slave power. In addition to the speeches of Douglas and Chase, representing the best word on the opposing sides of the famous Nebraska controversy, the new volume includes the notable contribution by Edward Everett to the Congressional debates on that subject. Besides being an orator of high rank and of literary renown, Everett represented a distinct body of political opinion. As a conservative Whig he voiced the sentiment of the great body of the followers of Webster and Clay who had helped to establish the Compromise of 1850 and who wished to leave that settlement undisturbed. The student of the Congressional struggles of 1854 will be led by a speech like that of Everett to appreciate that moderate and conservative spirit toward slavery which would not persist in any anti-slavery action having a tendency to disturb the harmony of the Union. That

this conservative opinion looked upon the repeal of the Missouri Compromise as an act of aggression in the interest of slavery is indicated by Everett's speech, and this gives the speech its historic significance.

Judah P. Benjamin may be said to have been the ablest legal defender of slavery in public life during the decade of 1850-60. His speech on the right of property in slaves and the right of slavery to national protection in the territories was probably the ablest on that side of the controversy. Lincoln's speech on the Dred Scott Decision has been substituted for one by John C. Breckinridge on the same subject; this will serve to bring into his true proportions this great leader of the combined anti-slavery forces. No voice, in the beginnings of secession and disunion, could better reflect the positive and uncompromising Republicanism of the Northwest than that of Wade. The speech from him which we have appropriated is in many ways worthy of the attention of the historical student.

We may look to Crittenden as the best expositor of the Crittenden Compromise, the leading attempt at compromise and conciliation in the memorable session of Congress of 1860-61. Crittenden's subject and personality add historical prominence to his speech. The Crittenden Compromise would probably have been accepted by Southern leaders like Davis and Toombs if it had been acceptable to the republican leaders of the North. The failure of that Compromise made disunion and war inevitable. Jefferson Davis' memorable farewell to the Senate, following the assured failure of compromise, seems a fitting close to the period of our history which brings us to the eve of the Civil War.

The introduction of Professor Johnston on "Secession" is retained as originally prepared. A study of the speeches, with this introduction and the appended notes, will give a fair idea of the political issues dividing the country in the important years immediately preceding the war. Limitations of space prevent the publication of










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the full speeches from the exhaustive Congressional debates, but in several instances where it has seemed especially desirable omissions from the former volume have been supplied with the purpose of more fully representing the subjects and the speakers. To the reader who is interested in historical politics in America these productions of great political leaders need no recommendation from the editor.

June 25, 1896.

J. A. W.

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