Secession Era Editorials Project

The Slave Power.

Hartford, Connecticut, Daily Courant [Whig]

(20 May 1854)

We doubt whether our friends at the North are fully aware of the plan for the extent of slavery and the perpetuity of the power of the South, which the politicians of that section are now planning. -- They have tried the acquiescence of the North in various ways. They have found that some are to be purchased by office and others to be intimidated by threats of disunion. Hence they feel that they will have a majority of the Free States with them in all attempts to aggrandize themselves and extend the area of slavery. They urged the Missouri Compromise in 1820, then a boon to them; they annexed the province of Texas; they admitted Utah and New Mexico as territories without any slavery prohibition; they obtained ten millions to be paid for the boundary of Texas; and now, seeing all their plans thus far successful through the corruption or pusillanimity of the North, they would repeal the old Missouri Compromise on which they once relied and establish the principle of non-intervention in the slavery wishes of any annexed territory. We all know where this points. It means that when Cuba is conquered, no objection shall be made to her entering our confederacy as a slave state.

The next step in this plan of universal conquest, is the acquisition of Cuba. This is already acknowledged by the Southern papers as the second article of the programme. To this, the Free States must submit, for their masters demand it. A long and expensive war is to be waged with Spain to add another slave state to the Republic, and if, in anticipation of this attack, Spain should manumit the slaves of Cuba, an attack is to be immediately made in order to prevent this measure. What a strange spectacle to see a nation claiming to be the freest on earth, declaring war against another power because she is about to drive slavery from her colonies!

There are other plans that reach beyond this, of which the Southern papers boast, now that they perceive the Democratic party of the Free States and the Administration of Franklin Pierce ready to do all that they require. These will be developed in time.

In the meantime, it is a solemn question for the freemen of the Free States to ask themselves, how far they intend to follow the beck of the slave power and to fulfil their plans for supremacy. When is the time for them to pause and reflect and rally around the standard of freedom? Dare they permit these aggressions to proceed further? If they submit to the abrogation of the Missouri Compromise, where is there any hope of staying the progress of slavery? The time has arrived to stand and contend, to turn the face and not the back to the foes of freedom. If we succumb now, the chains are forged for us and the future will see them riveted. Cuba will be annexed. Mexico and Central America will come into the confederacy as slaveholding states. Hayti will be wrested from the African race and they reduced to another bondage. All these events lie in the distant future. To prevent them the struggle must be commenced now against this Nebraska enormity.

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