Secession Era Editorials Project
THE RASCALS AT WASHINGTON
New York, Tribune [Whig]
(26 January 1854)
If the traitorous scamps at Washington who, in a
spirit no worthier than that which animated Judas Iscariot, are
plotting the surrender to Slavery of the free territory west of the
Mississippi, believed that a majority of the North would fail to
sustain the movement, they would instantly cease their clamor, and skulk back,
and we should hear no more about it.
But they have adopted the belief that the passage of the compromise
measures of 1850, and the triumphant election of Frank Pierce,
have taken all the spirit out of the North, and that the mass of the voters are now ready to wink at any party
iniquity, and sustain any party measure, whatever its enormity.
We are not sure it is worthwhile to attempt to remove this
These deliberate violators of solemn compacts, these vagabond repudiators
of obligations the most sacred, deserve to be roasted by the hottest fires of
They ought to have the full benefit of the verdict of an aroused and
indignant constituency, and be hung upon the gallows of public opprobrium.
Yet in mercy to the culprits, who are thus provoking the incensed
judgment of an outraged community, we will briefly state what opposition may
be expected in the Free States to the infamous proposal to repeal
the Missouri Compromise, and thus expose the rotten foundations
of their hopes.
There has been no time during the last seven years when the Whig and Free Soil parties have
not been in a clear majority in nearly all the Northern States.
The only ground upon which any doubt can be thrown on this presumption,
is the result of the last Presidential election.
But the vote of the Free Soil party in that
contest was only partial, being but the ineffectual remonstrance (and so felt to
be) of the more earnest of the Free Soilers against
the settlement of the Compromise measures.
And the vote of the Whigs in the
North was notoriously the vote only of a party divided against
It was a contest utterly balked by cross purposes.
The Presidential election of 1848, and the Congressional elections of 1850
furnish the only grounds of any just judgment as to the real strength of the
anti-Slavery sentiment in the country; and these elections justify the
statement that in every Free State, that sentiment, whenever it could be
fairly reached, has shown itself to be predominant.
Assuming this to be so, the only question to be answered is, whether that
sentiment can be aroused and consolidated, and brought to bear in solid phalanx
against the atrocious proposition in question.
The fools in Washington believe it cannot.
We believe it can.
And we believe further that this is by no means the whole strength of the
North that will be brought into the field against this infamous
We shall have the whole conservative force of the Free States
of all parties against it.
We shall have all the men who do not believe in
violating contracts nor in repudiating solemn engagements, on the side
of earnest opposition.
The moral stamina of the Free States will be set against the
Fair dealing and honest purposes will everywhere frown upon such
faithlessness and fraud.
Sober minded men, who have leaned to the side of the
South in the late contests, on the ground that the Abolitionists were the aggressors, will turn and resist
this movement as a gross outrage and aggression on the part of the
Our faith in the intelligence and sense of justice among the people is
such, that on the momentous question of a Repeal of the Missouri
Compromise, we believe the Free States will rise as one
man and crush the repudiating and traitorous dough faces who dare to counsel
We do not believe it is to be a question of majorities among the
We believe the proposition will be put down by acclamation.
This document was produced as part of a document analysis project
by Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University.
(Proofing info: Entered by Jeff Bollerman, Proofed by Lloyd Benson.)
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