Secession Era Editorials Project

No Title

Albany, New York, Evening Journal [Whig]

(23 May 1854)

[Pointing Finger]The crime is committed. The work of Monroe, and Madison, and Jefferson, is undone. The wall they erected to guard the domain of Liberty, is flung down by the hands of an American Congress, and Slavery crawls, like a slimy reptile over the ruins, to defile a second eden.

They tell us that the North will not submit. We hope it will not. But we have seen this same North crouch lower and lower each year under the whip of the slave driver, until it is hard to tell what it will not submit to now. Who, seven years ago, would not have derided a prophecy that Congress could enact the kidnapping of free citizens, without judge or jury? Who would have believed that it could enact that white men have a right to hold black in slavery wherever it is their sovereign will and pleasure? And yet, who now will deny that that prophecy is more than realized?

It was fitting that the Law should be passed as it was. It was in accordance with its spirit that it should be conceived in treachery, sprung upon the House by a fraud, and forced through it by a Parliamentary lie. It was appropriate that one member should be bribed and another bullied, and another bought, until the ranks of Slavery were full. Had Law or Order or Honesty had aught to do with its passage, there would have been a strange incongruity between the means and the end.

We cannot read the future. We cannot predict what will be the consequences of this last and most fatal blow to Liberty. But we can see what the duty of Freemen is, and we mean it shall be through no fault of ours if it is left undone.

If the North is what it claims to be, and what we have, of late, had gratifying assurance that it will be, this day ends the era of Compromises. With the band of Representatives that have nobly resisted the consummation of this iniquity, for its standard-bearers, it will declare that there shall be no more new Slave States. That there shall be no more Slave Territories. That there shall be no more Northern Congressmen with Southern principles. It will seek the immediate colonization of Nebraska by those who can yet save it from the impending curse. It will take a solemn pledge of the men it sends to Washington that their first and last vote there shall be cast for Repeal and Freedom. It will send no more fugitives back without a legal trial. It will sweep Slavery out of every nook and corner where the General Government has jurisdiction, imprison it within its fifteen States, and surround it there with triple bands of steel. It will "establish justice, promote tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to itself and to its posterity." is the United States will do, if they have retained the spirit of their founders. If not, then God help the Republic, for its days are numbered. Such a gigantic Confederacy of Crime as it must otherwise become, never existed elsewhere, cannot exist here, and ought not to exist anywhere.

On the other hand, those who have passed the bill, flushed with success, already announce new schemes. They will send mercenary Governments to the Territories to establish Slavery there, if haply the will of the settlers should oppose it. They count upon the Slave State of Kansas within the next Congress, and the Slave State of Nebraska before the next Presidential Election. They are planning an unprovoked and unjustifiable War for the sole purpose of forming Slave States of Cuba. They will send emissaries to Texas and New Mexico with instructions to form Slave States there. They will demand as the natural consequence of the recognition of Slave Property in all the Territories, the recognition of it in all the States. They believe that popular discontent with this bill, will die out before November, and they know that, if it does, not only office and power, but the whole future policy and destiny of the country will be in the hands of slaveholders and their tools.

This is the struggle before us. It is fraught with results of momentous consequence. From the tone and temper of the People, we have everything to hope. From the unbridled folly and unscrupulous power of party leaders, we have everything to fear. Believing as we do, that the purposes of Eternal Justice are not to be cast down by men's hands, we have no fear of the ultimate triumph of Right. But whether that triumph shall be slow or speedy, whether it shall come in our day, or be postponed until the Nation itself shall be consumed by the disease that is beginning to gnaw at its vitals -- is for the decision of the Freemen, North and South, of the Union.

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