Secession Era Editorials Project

The Conspiracy against Freedom.

Albany, New York, Evening Journal [Republican]

(11 March 1857)

The Oligarchy who breed men and women for the market and make unceasing war on free labor, laid broad the foundations of their conspiracy against Liberty, in the convention which nominated Buchanan for the Presidency. They planned to inaugurate on the 4th of March, 1857, a Federal combination of influences in behalf of Slavery, that should include the Executive power, the Legislative power and the Judicial power of the Republic. Through the patronage of the President they calculated upon corrupting and enlisting an army of ambitious and energetic spirits in the Free States. Though the 35th Congress they counted surely on legislation that should expand Slavery and contract Freedom. Through the Supreme Court of the United States they reckoned, with audacious cunning, on a conquest of all the subordinate courts of Law in the law-abiding North -- on a conquest of the vast body of Northern lawyers trained by their profession to yield obedience and respect to the final decisions of the judiciary, and educated all of them into a veneration of that high court over which Marshall presided and in which Story was a justice -- counted on a conquest of the great body of the Northern people, through their habit of submission to law and to public authority. To this end the appeal of the case of Dred Scott had been prepared. Its decision was certain and ready long and long ago. But its influence was wanted for the inauguration of the new pro-slavery administration of James Buchanan. So the formal delay of a re-argument was gone through with. The case was ready again for decision and publicity. But a Republican House of Representatives was in session. The horrible wrong inflicted through the person of Dred Scott upon half a million of free colored citizens, and the great crime against Freedom and Humanity enveloped in the denial of this black man's petition for his unquestionable rights, would inevitably have fired them to indignation and protest. Their denunciation of the Supreme Court was to be avoided by all means, and their hostility to the legislation necessary to the South and to the incoming Administration, was especially to be avoided. So the decision was withheld till Congress adjourned. Then it came.

The army of "Democratic" applicants for office came with it, and of course came under it as a yoke, as was anticipated. The army of the present "Democratic" incumbents of office, hopeful of reappointment, accept the decision as the highest expression of law and equity. Editorial slaves din into the shocked ear of the public their lying sophistries to persuade that a decision which nationalizes Human Bondage, and disfranchises citizens of African descent, is a sacred one. But in vain is it all. The People stand angry and implacable in front of this giant judicial iniquity. No shaking of old ermines, nor fluttering of moth-eaten silk gowns, nor invocation of the shades of Marshall, Jay, Ellsworth and Story -- no extent of snivel and cant about the purity of the Federal Judiciary, and the obligation to put up with false law and falser equity, will avail at all to persuade the people of the Free States that Slavery has unrestricted rights in the Public Domain, and neither Freedom nor Congress has any opposing rights therein -- that people of African descent can no be citizens of the United States -- and that men and women can lawfully be held in slavery on Free Soil. No, the People will from the hour of this Dred decision, unintermittingly roll back this mixed Conspiracy, till through a recovered and reorganized Federal Judiciary and a republicanized Executive, they can administer justice and good government in the whole nation.

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