Secession Era Editorials Project

The Nebraska Bill Passed.

Hartford, Connecticut, Daily Courant [Whig]

(24 May 1854)

The evil has been consummated. The first blow has fallen on the links of the chain that binds this Confederacy together. The Nebraska Bill has been passed with all its present enormities and all its future consequences. It has been passed by the votes of the South who have been disregardful of their former agreements, assisted by Northern men, who have "noses of wax on dough-faces," and are ready to do the dirty work of the South. We cannot speak patiently and temperately on this subject. It is the most momentous vote in its ulterior consequences ever passed by Congress. It is the first stroke on the stability of our Union that was real.

In a time of quiet, when all agitation on the subject of slavery seemed to be forever settled; during the Administration of a man who had solemnly pledged himself not to renew this agitation, the proposition was made and has been carried through both Houses of Congress, to repeal the Compromise of 1820, and allow of the introduction of slavery into territory from which it had been free by the express agreement of the Slave power itself. It was a thunder-clap in a clear sky. A lightning stroke from no preparatory cloud. The bolt has fallen; we have yet to count up the ruin it has wrought.

No Compromise will ever be made again, while this Government holds together. No mode of enactment can be framed that will be felt as binding. The South wilfully and wantonly violated the Compact of 1820, will be the cry, and they cannot be trusted again. Neither is this consequence a slight one. Mistrust will grow up in the room of confidence. The principles of the two sections will separate them as widely as their interests. The feeling of brotherhood, nursed amid the storms of the revolution and nourished by the blood of the patriots, will wither in the hearts of the North until it dies away even from their memories. We threaten nothing: but the South may depend upon it that the confidence in their honor has been woefully shaken by this repeal of a solemn compact.

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