Secession Era Editorials Project
Hartford, Connecticut, Daily Courant [Whig]
(16 May 1854)
As their name implies, compromises are settlements of difficulties by
Each side gives up to the other something upon which it had insisted,
often with much zeal.
Of course no compromise is entirely acceptable to those who form it.
Neither side has obtained that for which it had been contending, having
mutually given away on some points, and therefore neither side feels satisfied
The violent leaders of both parties who have carried on
the controversy are the first to complain.
Moderate men have stepped in with moderate
councils and, having prevailed, are looked up to as leaders.
But as time goes on, especially where equal and mutual concessions have
been made, the compromise, as first only acquiesced in, becomes a part of the
policy of the nation and is considered every year as more sacred, until
practice under it makes it to be considered as a permanent and unalterable
Such was the feeling of the Whig party at the
North at the Compromise Measures of 1850.
-- Many of the concessions which they made to the South were
exceedingly distasteful to them.
They opposed them bitterly at first, but finally acquiesced in them
because they were Compromises, dependent on mutual
Besides, the Whig party is not a party of a
They have more than one object in view as a National Party.
-- These objects are as important, in their estimation, to the prosperity
of the nation as the subject of slavery on which the compromises were made.
-- The Whigs of the
North are as much opposed to the extension of the area of
slavery, as any other set of men.
But they are a party of principles, not of a principle, and they feel
that other things are to be contended for in consulting the good of the whole
On this account, they submitted to the compromises of
Such was the feeling of the North at the Compromise of
A concession had been made.
-- Many of them were opposed to it.
But, being a concession on their side, and having received what was
considered an equivalent concession on the part of the South,
their opposition soon died away and they acquiesced in it and proceeded to act
in good faith under it.
Such was the feeling of the whole nation at that greatest Compromise
Measure of all -- the Constitution of the United States -- here,
mutual concessions and mutual forbearance were necessary and were practised,
and the nation prospered under them.
No Confederacy can exist without Compromises and concessions.
Two antagonistic parties -- we mean, antagonistic in one point -- must
make mutual concessions on that one point if they intend live peaceably
Such has been the principle on which our Government has been carried
Without it, we should have been an insignificant collection of independent
states with no power or importance.
Under those compromises between the North and
South, on that point on which they are antagonistic, the nation
has prospered and has been kept united.
A dark spot now arises in the history of our country.
The South, having elected a Northern President devoted to
their interests who is supported by a section of the North equally
devoted to their interests, have stept over the boundary of the Compromises and
insist upon the abrogation of that of 1820, by which a violent contest was
They have obtained their share of the benefits of this Compromise and now
demand of us to relinquish ours.
By so doing they have aroused a sprit which will not easily be quieted.
This movement has shown that there can be no faith kept by them -- and
that no terms of contract and no compromise are felt binding upon them when
they can be changed by a vote of Congress or bullied out of the
The consequences arising from this movement are, that the whole slavery
agitation has been reopened by the South themselves and what the
end will be no one can predict; that the North are aroused up to a
more determinate resistance to the extension of the area of slavery, than they
have ever before been, being chained down by what appeared to them was a
sacred compact; that no future Compromise can ever be made between the two
antagonistic parties, for the North can never
place confidence in the declarations or agreements of men who would uphold the
violation of the Missouri Compromise; and that there is
danger not only of the loss of the Compromise measures of 1850,
but of the still greater Compromise of the Constitution.
The voluntary destruction of one of these compacts by the
South will weaken the obligatory force of the rest on the minds of
We fear lest the vote on the Nebraska bill will prove "the
beginning of the end" of the permanency of the American confederation.
This document was produced as part of a document analysis project
by Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University.
(Proofing info: entered and proofed by Lloyd Benson.)
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