Secession Era Editorials Project

The Organization of New Territories.

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press [Democratic]

(10 January 1854)

We have received, and shall lay before our readers in a day or two, the report of the Senate Committee on Territories, of which Mr. Douglas is chairman, accompanying a bill for the organization of the Territory of Nebraska.

This report is an important document - important as determining the action of the Committee on Territories in the Senate, and as forshadowing, as we hope and believe, the action of Congress. The report takes the broad ground that, in regard to slavery in territories, the compromise measures of 1850 settled the question for all time, -- that these measures were designed to establish certain great principles, which would not only furnish adequate remedies for existing evils, but, "in all time to come, avoid the perils of similar agitation, by withdrawing the question of slavery from the halls of Congress and the political arena, and committing it to the abitrament of those who were immediately interested in, and alone responsible for its consequences." With the view of conforming their action to what they regard the settled policy of the government, sanctioned by the approving voice of the American people, the committee close their report with the conclusion that the compromise measures of 1850 affirm and rest upon the following propositions:

"First, that all questions pertaining to slavery in the Territories, and in the new States to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of the people residing therein, through their appropriate representatives, to be chosen by them for that purpose.

Second, that "all cases involving title to slaves" and "questions of personal freedom" are referred to the adjudication of the local tribunals, with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Third, that the provisions of the constitution of the United States in respect to fugitives from service are to be carried into faithful execution in all "the organized Territories" the same as in the States."

The bill which the committee report for the organization of the Territory of Nebraska proposes to carry out these propositions and principles into practical operation.


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