Secession Era Editorials Project
MESSRS. ROGERS AND PURYEAR.
Raleigh, North Carolina, Register [Whig]
(31 May 1854)
Without waiting to learn the reasons which
induced these gentlemen to vote against the
Nebraska Bill, the "Standard" has opened upon
them a most bitter and hyena-like attack. --
This is just what might have been expected from
a print, which cannot treat a Whig with common
justice, whilst it is ready, on all occasions, to
cloak the acts and motives of members of its
own party, however indefensible they may be.
Such malice will but recoil on the head of the
Editor; -- it will not hurt the objects of his
Now the "Standard" knew very well, that
has been an ardent friend of the Bill, as
it came from the Senate, -- that he is in favor of
the principle of non-intervention, by the General
Government, on the subject of slavery in the
Territories. Could it not see at once, -- did it not
know, -- the reason which caused Mr. R. to vote
against the Bill? The Senate Bill had in it
what was called the "Clayton amendment." In
the House of Representatives,
(a locofoco) moved, as a substitute, another Bill,
which did not have in it the said amendment. --
Whilst this substitute was under consideration,
(as the proceedings show,) made
strenous efforts to incorporate the amendment,
and make the Bill what it was when it came
from the Senate. But he was ruled down, and
all amendments declared out of order, by a
Now what was the effect of the Clayton amendment?
It was this: By the original Bill, all
foreigners going into the Territories had a right
to vote at once, without being naturalized, as
required in other cases. The amendment made
it necessary for them to reside there a certain
length of time and to be naturalized, before they
could exercise the privilege of voting.
The effect of the Bill, without the amendment,
on the interests and rights of the South, is too
plain, we take it, to admit of much doubt. --
especially should the Homestead Bill become
the law of the land. Thousands and tens of
thousands of foreigners, having no knowledge
of our institutions, would pour into these
Territories. They are large enough to make ten or
fifteen such States as North Carolina; and but
a few years would pass, before six, or eight, or
perhaps a larger number of States, carved out
of them, would be admitted into the Union, with
non-slaveholding Constitutions. In the meantime,
we could look no where for as rapid an
increase in that section where slavery will likely
go. What, then, will be the consequence?
Not only the balance of power broken down,
between the slave and the free States, with a
large preponderance in the Senate in favor of
the latter, but that very section which is now
held out as open to the slaveholder, by this very
measure, filled up by a foreign population
violently hostile to our interests!
We presume that no member of Congress
from the South, of either party, is opposed to
the doctrine of non-intervention, unless it be
that arch locofoco, Thomas H. Benton. This is
a great and salutary principle. But is there
not such a thing as surrounding, encumbering,
hedging in a principle with such provisos and
conditions, as to render it worse than useless, --
even make it mischievous and dangerous in the
extreme, when accepted with such incumbrances?
Congress says, in substance: -- "We acknowledge
the right you have to carry your
slaves to Nebraska and
Kansas, but, to prevent
you from doing so, we will force or decoy into
those Territories a population, who will never
let you go there, and who will drive you back, or
take away your property, if you do go!"
These things are entitled to some consideration.
We can well imagine how Messrs.
could have seen much in the
Bill which might be injurious to the South,
without the Clayton amendment, -- more especially
in view of the probable passage of the
Homestead. That they were honest in their
motives, no man dare gainsay. The disgraceful
and contemptible effort of the "Standard" to
reflect upon them, by proclaiming that they
voted with "Giddings and others," deserves the
scorn of every fair minded man in the State.
That paper knows that their motives in voting
against the Bill were as wide apart from those
which governed the freesoilers who did the same
thing, as the poles are asunder. Yet, by a
sneaking and covert insinuation, it would leave
the impression that they were co-operating with
But why did the "Standard" pass over its
own friends, Houston,
to vent its mean malice on Messrs.
It was not willing to let it be
known that they were in the company of some
of its own special pets and friends.
As to the enquiry, whether their votes do not
place them in a hostile attitude to Messrs.
the "Standard" need give itself
no uneasiness. Any one of five grains of sense,
and a much smaller quantity of honesty, can
well see how these gentlemen might differ as to
the effect of the Clayton amendment, whilst they
agreed on the great principle asserted in the
Bill. But we ask pardon for saying this much.
Messrs. Rogers and
Puryear will doubtless
define their own positions, and that they are
able to take care of themselves, before their
constituents, without the aid and despite the
enmity of the "Standard," we have not the least
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