Secession Era Editorials Project

The Plans of the Slave Power.

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant [Whig]

(6 June 1854)

The passage of the Nebraska Bill has enabled the slave States to fling off the mask and show what their intentions and determinations are. These plans are two-fold, relating to both the internal and external condition of the country.

So far as the acquisition of foreign territory is concerned, their next great step is the seizure of Cuba. This acquisition will add to the number and wealth of the slave States and furnish an additional market for slave-raising Virginia. The South cannot contain the impatience of her desires on this topic. The Richmond Enquirer, demanding the immediate annexation of Cuba, says:

"Of the temper and determination of the Executive there is no doubt. The administration has already indicated its policy in the President's energetic message respecting the Black Warrior affair. The South may repose implicit confidence in Mr. Pierce; he is with us. Why is Congress so backward and timid? Are grave Senators so trammeled by traditional notions of conservatism that they are incapable of grasping the full significance of the crisis? While they doze in their seats and dream of obsolete conventionalities, the irreparable wrong may be consummated, and Cuba be lost forever.

The people of the South are not so blind or so apathetic. They see the opportunity, and they expect their representatives to seize and turn it to account. They will tolerate no lukewarmness, much less opposition, in carrying out the scheme for the annexation of Cuba."

Next to this comes the conquest of Hayti, and the bringing back the negroes there to the condition of slaves. The movement to this end has already commenced by the proposition of Mr. Douglas in the Senate to enquire into the expediency of acknowledging the independence of Dominica, the Spanish end of the Island. Its annexation will be soon talked of and then the seizure of the whole Island is the necessary consequence.

Next in order comes the conquest of Mexico with the formation of new slave States.

To accomplish the seizure of Cuba, should France or England oppose, an alliance with Russia may be necessary and an engagement in a long war. But if this alliance is not needed, that with Brazil has already been proposed by the Southern papers, so as mutually to co-operate for the extent of slavery and its universal spread over both sections of the continent. This supposes the consolidation of all the different South American countries under the Brazilian power, and the seizure and appropriation of all the West Indies and Central America by us. This is a great plan, but not greater than the aspiration and ambition of the slave power.

The Home plan is equally grasping. New slave States are to be made from Texas, Kansas and Nebraska. The people of Illinois and Iowa are to be cajolled into the belief that slavery would be better for them, and as Sovereign States they are to establish it. The Compromise of 1820 which excluded slavery from the latter has now been annulled, and the Ordinance of 1787 is no more binding than that of 1820.

The first demand however will be that individuals from the slave States shall have the declared right of travelling through the Free States with their "property" and be able to retain it unmolested. Next will come the requisition that they may be allowed to remain with their slaves. The transition from a compliance with this demand to the universal toleration of slavery at the North, is but a step and an easy one. A case is now before the New York courts to test the constitutionality of the law that forbids slaves to be carried through New York to be shipped to Mobile.

What is to be done? The North has submitted so far for the sake of peace and the Union, that the South supposes there will always be doughfaces enough to be flattered or frightened into a compliance with her wishes.


This document was produced as part of a document analysis project by Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University. (Proofing info: Entered by Lloyd Benson, not proofed.) This electronic version may not be copied, or linked to, or otherwise used for commercial purposes, (including textbook or publication-related websites) without prior written permission. The views expressed in this document are for educational, historical, and scholarly use only, and are not intended to represent the views of the project contributors or Furman University.