Secession Era Editorials Project


New York, Tribune [Whig]

(28 January 1854)

The first meeting held in this City to protest against the repudiation of so much of the Missouri Compromise as expressly shielded the territory west of Missouri and north of 36* 30' from Slavery will convene this evening at the Tabernacle. It is understood that SHEPHERD KNAPP, President of the Mechanics Bank, will take the chair, and that ROBERT EMMET and JAMES W. GERARD are among those who have consented to address the meeting. The Call is signed almost exclusively by our most conservative capitalists and business men, original and steadfast friends of the Adjustment of 1850, who protest against the bill of Douglas and his confederates as a wanton, aggressive revival of agitation and irritation concerning Slavery at the very moment when it was hoped that agitation had been permanently allayed. As an expression of the views and feelings of this powerful class, we cannot doubt that this meeting will exert a powerful influence at Washington and throughout the Country.

We ask our fellow citizens who realize the importance of the crisis and the duty devolving on all lovers of Freedom to attend this meeting, although we have no idea that its Speeches and Resolves will be such as befit the occasion. We judge of their drift by the character of the men who have called and will control the meeting, who cannot be expected to characterize this Nebraska conspiracy in the language it deserves. For our own part, we regard this Nebraska movement of Douglas and his backers as one of measureless treachery and infamy. Founded on a gigantic and impudent falsehood -- the assumption that the Adjustment of 1850 in spirit if not in letter repealed so much of the Missouri Compromise as was favorable to Freedom: -- it seeks to discomfit and humiliate the North by a surprise -- a snap-judgment -- an ambuscade surmounted by a flag of truce. There is not a man engaged in engineering and crowding the Douglas conspiracy who does not know that the People are against it -- not one of them dare give the Country a chance to pass upon it. Their game is to crowd it through a Congress elected in absolute ignorance that any such scheme was contemplated, using Slavery and sham Democracy as the two levers wherewith to propel it, and, having done this in defiance of the public will, to turn coolly upon the People and say, "Well, the thing is done, and can't be helped. Even if you elect a House eager to repudiate its repudiation, we can and will beat you in the Senate. So be quiet, since resistance must be impotent and useless." Men and brethren? they can and will beat us in the Senate, but let every man who misrepresents a Free Labor constituency by voting to open Nebraska to Slavery be marked for signal retribution! Let every one tempted to such recreancy feel that he is invoking his political death warrant! Let the watchword of every freeman be "Resistance to the last to the defilement of Nebraska with Slavery ! Repeal of the repudiating clause, if it be forced through Congress! Everlasting remembrance to every representative of a Free State or District who proves recreant in this crisis." Last Public Opinion be distinctly proclaimed and enough will yet draw back to defeat the pro-Slavery section in the House. But there is not a moment to be lost.

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