Secession Era Editorials Project

Agitation.

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant [Whig]

(27 January 1854)

There is no doubt that Douglas's Nebraska bill opens anew the whole danger of agitation to the country. It not only repeals the Compromise of 1820, but nullifies that of 1850. By that last agreement, the territory in question, the north part of Texas, California and Oregon were to be free territory, while the South obtained a settlement of the Texas boundary according to their wishes and an endorsement of the fugitive slave act, a law always exceedingly distasteful to the north. But if these compromises are to be thus rendered of no avail--if slavery can be admitted at the option of the settlers into Nebraska -- it can be extended into the territories as far north as our dominions extend -- Minnesota and Oregon can be admitted as slave states and the northern part of Texas be open to slavery. This is a bold bid of Douglas for the next Presidency.

We depreciate agitation. We shudder at the danger to which the country has already been exposed from its existence. But we see a perfect fire brand flung into the political arena for the aggrandizement of one man. The measures of the Compromise have been settled and the nation is going on peaceably and prosperously under their operation. Why renew then the agitation? Why trample under foot those measures that have been the means of quietly settling our disputes? Why cast aside the laws and compacts of the past for the gratification of the ambition of one man?

We can now see why the Administration have frowned upon the friends of the Compromise every where. We now know especially why the Secessionists and other enemies of the Compromise at the South have been brought into power and are every where receiving the countenance of the Government. Douglas's Nebraska Bill is declared to be an administration measure.


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