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and from it resulted the final struggle for the settlement of Kansas, which had such a powerful influence in promoting the immediate causes of the war. There can be no question that the provision of the act of Congress for the future admission of Utah, either with or without slavery," threw the door wide

for the admission of Kansas also, either with or without slavery; since the southern line of that Territory, crossing the northern portion of New Mexico, would correspond with the southern line of Utah. The two were, therefore, on equal terms. In short, since the restriction of the Missouri Compromise line was abrogated in respect to Utah, it was abrogated altogether; and, since the question of "slavery or no slavery” was left, by the act of Congress, to the final determination of the people of that Territory; in the exercise of good faith, the people of Kansas were entitled to a similar privilege. This was the view finally taken of this subject by Congress, in the passage of the bill to organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas. Whatever policy, or any other consideration, may have prompted on this subject, there can be no doubt that the action of Congress in this respect was the legitimate and necessary deduction from the Compromises of 1850.

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CHAPTER VIII.

Tuo Several Compromises in regard to Slavery.-Death of Mr. Calhoun.-Death of President

Taylor.—The “Seward Whigs” and Mr. Webster's 7th of March Speech.-Political Calm after the Passage of the Measures of 1850.—The Conservative Interest strongly in the ascendant.—The Fugitive Slave Act and“ Personal Liberty Bills."-Sectional Sentiment and its Local Causes.-Coalition of 1851, between Democrats and Freesoilers in Massachusetts, to choose a Senator in place of Mr. Webster, and State Officers.-Rescues of Fugitive Slaves, and Rendition of them.-Mr. Choate.—Demoralizing Influence of the Coalition.

In looking back upon the several compromises, of which the question of slavery was the element, it may be properly remarked, that if the Ordinance of 1787 had been strictly and literally adhered to, future national trouble would have been probably avoided. It was erroneous in principle, as setting up a sectional distinction, and creating a critical precedent. Half-way measures seldom satisfy either party, and, unless of their very nature conclusive, are pretty sure to be reopened for dispute at some future time. No compromise could be absolutely beneficial which did not rest upon absolute and inherent grounds of permanency. Practically, this one was likely to stand; because it comprehended only the territory then belonging to the United States, “northwest of the Ohio River,” all of it unsuited to slave labor, which could but give way, therefore, the moment that of white men should come into active competition with it. A mere

While Indiana was still a Territory, its inhabitants petitioned for the suspension of the Ordinance of 1787 in their behalf. The subject was referred to a committee of Congress, from which Mr. John Randolph, of Virginia, made an adverse report, chiefly on the ground that the Territory was not properly adapted to slave labor, and did not need it, as the resources of the Territory would

territorial line of boundary between nations or States can be indifferently well observed. The natural sense of obligation, in such case, is correspondent with the Scriptural sanction“Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor's landmark."

But a line of separation, dependent upon moral distinctions, real or supposed, can hardly fail to be, sooner or later, the occasion of renewed quarrel. That compromise was adapted only to the existing condition of the country; and the statesmen of the day never contemplated the idea of an enlargement of the republic, by a vast accession of Western and Southwestern territory, out of which numbers of future States were to be formed. But deviations even from the spirit of that measure soon occurred. The South, in the adoption of the Ordinance, had shown a disposition as unanimous as that of the North, to restrict slavery with the limits already recognized by the Constitution. If the North, on that occasion, was actuated by a just principle, the South made to that principle a frank and generous concession. When, shortly afterwards, there were manifestations, from some quarters of the former, of a desire to exact concessions tending to impair established rights, the temperate yet firm tonę of remonstrance, on the part of the latter, was such as to consign the whole subject to quiet, in Congress, for nearly the period of an entire generation.

The Compromise of 1820 was, in a certain important sense, better calculated to maintain the peace; because its application was conformable to the diverse character of climate, soil, production, and the existing state of labor, in the several sections. Just adherence to its provisions, in letter and spirit, would have kept at bay all serious cause of dispute between the North and the South. But, fixed upon with great difficulty, by reason of Northern opposition to slavery, and attended with extreme popular displeasure

soon become developed by the labor of its white inhabitants. This was in 1803.

* In fact, the North was not quite unanimous; one vote against it was given from New York.

THE SOUTH SECURE ENOUGH.

211

um.

against those Northern members of Congress who voted for the measure, it was violated also, in spirit, by continuous aggression from the free States; until the acquisition of further territory presented the occasion of dispute in a novel aspect, from which eventually followed the settlement of 1850.

The latter compromise, abandoning the demarcation of any specific line between the free and the slave States, was devised in order to balance certain discordant interests which, in reality, did not admit of any permanent equilibri

The effect of it was, to open the whole question of slavery, in connection with the possessions of the United States, outside of the Union. Yet, if the South had been content to leave matters as they really stood, upon the adoption of the measures of 1850, she would have been perfectly secure, not withstanding any dissatisfaction which existed at the North. It is true, that there were several complicated questions of constitutional principle, mixed up with those measures, which had drawn forth eminently able discussion, from both sides, during the very long period that they occupied the attention of the Senate, and which could hardly be held to have been definitively settled, except so far as the will of a majority was expressed in the determination of the points at issue.

But, on the other hand, it was obviously a vain struggle of the South against inexorable facts, already decided by the great and naturally increasing preponderance of political power in the North. It would have been better, therefore, for the Southern States to be satisfied to remain what Mr. Calhoun once said they would ever be, if the principles which he advocated were maintained—“a respectable portion of the Union ”relying upon the justice of the friends of the Constitution at the North, who were very largely in the majority, and sure to maintain their strength, so long as the Constitution itself should stand. In fact, there was no cause whatever for apprehension in regard to slavery in the

1

Speech in February, 1847, upon introducing certain resolutions.

States. Unhappily, it was conceived that the Southern States had the power, in combination with the Northern conservatives, to compel compliance with objects which were, in the very nature of the case, impracticable; and what has been lost by them, was lost in the pursuit of a shadow cast by the very substance which was actually in their

grasp Early in the course of the great debate, brought to a conclusion by the passage of the several acts already considered, Mr. Calhoun, so long the eminent leader on the Southern side, had passed away from the scene of earthly struggles.' After the interval of a few months, President Taylor had followed him to the grave. Mr. Fillmore had succeeded that universally lamented Chief Magistrate, during the progress of the debates in question, and had assembled a new cabinet, in which Mr. Webster occupied the most commanding place. The dissatisfaction with which Mr. Webster's 7th of March speech had been received by a considerable portion of the political party with which he had acted, during his whole public life, and whose views of policy had derived such clearness and strength from his steady and splendid defence of them, was very distinctly manifested, upon the intimation that he was likely to be invited to the post of Secretary of State. The journals of the day styled his opponents "th Seward Whigs." Among the Whig newspapers which assailed him were the Albany Evening Journal and the Boston Atlas ; the former ably conducted by Mr. Thurlow Weed; the latter, which, for years, had been managed with singular spirit and intelligence, having fallen into other hands, after the decease of Mr. Haughton, its original editor.

Here was the seed, and within its folds the deadly tree, from whose poisonous leaves afterwards dropped showers of blood. Already, those sectional Whigs, who would not support General Taylor, because he was a citizen of a slave

1 Warm tributes to his memory were paid by Mr. Webster, Mr. Winthrop, and many others.

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