Secession Era Editorials Project

Mr. Everett's Position -- Necessity of Mr. Douglas' Bill.

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press [Democratic]

(15 February 1854)

The ground taken by Mr. Everett, in his speech against the Territorial Bill, is that the compromise measures of 1850 only settled the question of slavery in respect to the two territories organized, viz: Utah and New Mexico. If this be really true, then has a consequence been given to those measures they did not mark, and all the talk about adhering faithfully to their principles has been humbug.

But we venture to affirm that the country has understood the significance of those measures in a very different light from the view taken by Mr. Everett. The concession has been made on almost all hands that the legislation of 1850 settled the doctrine of non-intervention, and the supposition has been entertained in every section of the Union that all future territorial organizations would be made in accordance with that doctrine.

But in view of the fact that Mr. Everett, and the whigs and abolitionists of the north, find it convenient now to repudiate the non- intervention principle, and oppose its general application to all future territorial governments, how much more important is it that Mr. Douglas' bill should be passed, and non-intervention engrafted upon the statute book as a permanent policy.

If this policy was not settled in 1850, -- and Mr. Everett says it was not, -- it cannot be too soon settled. If the democratic party has been pursuing a shadow during four years past, it cannot too promptly seize the substance.

But what would Henry Clay and Daniel Webster say, if they were yet on earth, of their professed admirers who so lightly treat the work of their hands? Those statesmen hoped and believed, when they bent the best energies of their great intellects to the passage of the compromise measures, that they were engaged in a work whose fruit would be the future peace and quiet of the country. They regarded these measures as a finality, and so continued to regard them to the last hour of their lives. Mr. Clay, in his report as chairman of the Committee of Thirteen, in the Senate, said: "It has been their object therefore, in this report, to make such proposals and recommendations as would accomplish a general adjustment of all these questions." The recommendations alluded to are the compromise measures, and at this day, instead of treating them as a "general adjustment of all these questions," Mr. Everett and the whigs of the north are endeavoring to upset them in the first instance of their application to a new Territory! No greater reproach could be cast upon the memory of those great men. Let democratic statesmen, at least, be consistent, and cling to the republican doctrine of non-intervention.

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