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terms. The fact was, that she had made a clear concession of principle for the sake of the Union; and the inference wa plain and logical, that her devotion to it exceeded almost every other political trust, and that she would be likely to prefer any sacrifice rather than the irreverent one of the Union of the States.
The events of succeeding years confirmed the Northern opinion that the Union was to be perpetuated as a consolidated government. It is not to be denied that the consolidationists derived much comfort from the course of President Jackson, in the controversy between the General Government and the State of South Carolina, that ensued during the second term of his administration. But they were hasty and unfair in the interpretation of the speeches of a choleric and immoderate politician. They seized upon a sentiment offered by the President at the Jefferson anniversary dinner, in the second year of his first term—“ The Federal Union—it must be preserved”to represent him as a "coercionist” in principle; and, indeed, they found reason to contend that their construction of these words was fully sustained in General Jackson's famous proclamation and official course against Nullification.
General Jackson subsequently explained away, in a great measure, the objectionable doctrines of his proclamation; and his emphatic declaration that the Union could not be preserved by force was one of the practical testimonies of his wisdom that he left to posterity. But the immediate moral and politica? effects of his policy in relation to South Carolina were, upon the whole, decidedly unfavorable to the State Rights cause. His approval of the Force Bill gave to the consolidationists the benefit of his great name and influence at a most important juncture. The names of “Jackson and the Union” be came inseparable in the public estimation; and the idea was strongly and vividly impressed upon the public mind, that the great Democrat was “a Union man" at all hazards and to the last extremity.
The result of the contest between Sonth Carolina and the General Government is well known. The Palmetto State came out of it with an enviable reputation for spirit and cliivalry ; but the settlement of the question contributed to the previous popular impressions of the power and perma
acncy of the Union. The idea of the Union became what it continued to be for a quarter of a century thereafter--extravagant and sentimental. The people were unwilling to stop to analyze an idea after it had once become the subject of enthusiasm ; and the mere name of the “Union," illustrating, as it did, the power of words over the passions of the multitude, remained for years a signal of the country's glory and of conrse the motto of ambitious politicians and the favorite theme of demagogues. This unnatural tumor was not peculiar to any party or any portion of the country. It was deeply planted in the Northern mind, but prevailed also, to a considerable extent, in the South. Many of the Southern politicians came to the conclusion that they could best succeed in their designs as advocates and eulogists of what was paraphrased as * the glorious Union;" and for a long time the popular veice of the South seemed to justify their conclusion.
The settlement of the sectional difficulties of 1850, which grew out of the admission of the territory acquired by the Mexican War, was but a repetition of the “Compromise" of 1820, so far as it implied a surrender of the rights of the South and of the principle of constitutional equality. The appeals urged in behalf of the Union had the usual effect of reconciling the South to the sacrifice required of her, and embarrassed any thing like resistance on the part of her representatives in Congress to the “compromise measures” of 1950. South Carolina was the only one of the Southern States ready at this time to take the bold and adventurous initiative of Southern independence. In justice, however, to the other States of the South, it must be stated, that in agreeing to what was called, in severe irony or in wretched ignorance, the “Compromise" of 1850, they declared that it was the last concession they would make to the North; that they took it as a “ finality,” and that they would resist any further aggression on their rights, even to the extremity of the rupture of the Union.
This declaration of spirit was derided by the North. The anti-slavery sentiment became bolder with success. Stimullated by secret jealousies and qualified for success by the low and narrow cunning of fanaticism, it had grown up by indirecSon, and aspired to the complete overthrow of the peculiar institution that had distinguished the people of the South from those of the North, by a larger happiness, greater ease of life, and a superior tone of character. Hypocrisy, secretiveness, a rapid and unhealthy growth, and at last the unmasked spirit of defiance, were the incidents of the history of the antislavery sentiment in the North, from the beginning of its organization to the last and fatal strain of its insolence and power.
Until a comparatively recent period, the Northern majority disavowed all purpose of abolishing or interfering in any way with the institution of slavery in any State, Territory, or District where it existed. On the contrary, they declared their readiness to give their “Southern brethren” the most satisfactory guaranties for the security of their slave property. They cloaked their designs under the disguise of the Right of Petition and other concealments equally demagogical. From the organization of the government, petitions for the abolition of slavery, signed in every instance by but a few persons, and most of them women, had, at intervals, been sent into Congress; but they were of such apparent insignificance that they failed to excite any serious apprehensions on the part of the South. In the year 1836, these petitions were multiplied, and many were sent into both Houses of Congress from all parts of the North. An excitement began, On motion of Mr. II. L. Pinckney, of South Carolina, a resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives, to refer to a select committee all anti-slavery memorials then before that body, or that might thereafter be sent in, with instructions to report against the prayers of the petitioners and the reasons for such couclusion.
On the 18th of May, 1836, the committee made a unanimous report, through Mr. Pinckney, its chairman, concluding with a series of resolutions, the last of which was as follows :
Resolved, That all petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions, or papers relating, in any way, or to any extent whatever, to the subject of slavery, or the abolition of slavery, shall, witliout being either printed or referred, be laid mpon the table, and that no further action whatever shall be had thereon.”
The resolutions were carried by a vote of 117 yeas ito 65 nays. A majority of the Northern members voted against the
resolution, although there was then scarcely an avowed Abolitionist among them. They professed to be in favor of protecting the slaveholder in his right of property, and yet declared by their votes, as well as by their speeches, that the right of petition to rob him of his property was too sacred to be called in question.
The passage of the "Pinckney resolutions," as they were called, did not silence the anti-slavery agitat.on in the House. In the month of December, 1837, a remarkable scene was enacted in that body, during the proceedings on a motion of Mr. Slade, of Vermont, to refer two memorials praying the Abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia to a select committee. Mr. Slade, in urging his motion, was violent in his denunciations of slavery, and he spoke for a considerable time amid constant interruptions and calls to order. At length, Mr. Rhett, of South Carolina, called upon the entire delegation from all the slaveholding States to retire from the hall, and to meet in the room of the Committee on the District of Columbia. A large number of them did meet for consultation in the room designated. The meeting, however, resulted in nothing but an agreement upon the following resolution to be presented to the House:
"Resolved, That all petitions, memorials, and papers touching the abolition of slavery, or the buying, selling, or transferring of slaves in any State, Dis trict, or Territory of the United States, be laid on the table without being debated, printed, read, or referred, and that no further action whatever shall be had thereon."
This resolution was presented to the House by Mr. Patton, of Virginia, and was adopted by a vote of 122 to 74.
In the month of January, 1840, the House of Representatives, on motion of Mr. W. Cost Johnson, of Maryland, adopted what was known as the "Twenty-first Rule," which prohibited the reception of all Abolition petitions, memorials, and resolutions.
The Twenty-first Rule was rescinded in December, 1844, on motion of John Quincy Adams, by a vote of 108 to 80. Several efforts were afterwards made to restore it, but without success. The Northern people would not relinquish what they termed a "sacred right"-that of petitioning the government,
through their representatives in Congress, to deprive the Southern people of their property.
During the agitation in Congress upon the right of petition, there was, as before stated, but very few open and avowed Abolitionists in either House, and the declaration was repeat edly made by members that the party was contemptibly small in every free State in the Union. Mr. Pierce, of New Hampshire (afterwards President of the United States), declared, in 1837, in his place in Congress, that there were not two hundred Abolitionists in his State; and Mr. Webster, about the same time, represented their numbers in Massachusetts as quite insignificant. Mr. Calhoun, of South Carolina, with characteristic sagacity, replied to these representations, and predicted that “Mr. Webster and all Northern statesmen would, in a few years, yield to the storm of Abolition fanaticism and be overwhelmed by it.” The prophecy was not more remarkable than the searching analysis of Northern “conservatism” with which the great South Carolinian accompanied his prediction. He argued that such a consequence was inevitable from the way in which the professed “conservatives" of the North had invited the aggressions of the Abolitionists, by courteously granting them the right of petition, which was indeed all they asked ; that the fanaticism of the North was a disease which required a remedy, and that palliatives would not answer, as Mr. Webster and men like him would find to their cost.
In the Thirtieth Congress, that assembled in December, 1819 the penfessed Abolitionists numbered about a dozen members. They held the balance of power between the Democratic and Whig parties in the Honse, and delayed its organization for about a month. Both the Whig and Democratic
a parties then claimed to be conservative, and, of course, the opponents of the anti-slavery agitation.
In the Presidential canvass of 1852, both Pierce and Scott were brought out by professed national parties, and were supported in each section of the Union. John P. Hale, who ran upon what was called the straight-out" Abolition ticket, did not receive the vote of a single State, and but 175,296 of the popular vote of the Union. The triumphant election of Pierce, who was a favorite of the State Rights Democracy of the South, was hailed by the sanguine friends of the Union as