Secession Era Editorials Project

The Nebraska Bill Passed!

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gazette [Whig]

(23 May 1854)

The deed is done! The astonishing perfidy to the Free States of this Union has been consummated, by the aid of forty-four traitors to the rights, interests and honor of the North. The Missouri Compromise, that sacred compact which has been considered as binding as the Constitution for thirty-four years, has been repealed. -- Slavery is now free to take up its march to all the territory west of Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota, extending to the Rocky Mountains. The black flag of oppression is unfurled in triumph over a territory as large as all the Free States put together, which has hitherto been considered as sacred to freedom as Pennsylvania or Massachusetts. The act has come upon the country so suddenly, so unexpectedly, that we can scarcely realize the extent of the enormity. It is scarcely five months since the infernal project was broached, by that Arch Traitor Douglass, and now the deed is done! This is said to be a government of the people, and yet here is a deed of extraordinary perfidy and injustice enacted, without the wish or desire of the people, and in face of their most solemn protest. Not a petition has been offered in its favor, while thousands have been sent in against it. The infamous act has been forced upon the country by the power of an oligarchy, in despite of its protests, and in defiance of its express will. Was ever such tyranny enacted by the Representatives of a free people?

But are the people powerless? Have they no remedy? Thank God, they have the means of redress in their own hands. All that is wanting is the spirit and patriotism to use the power they possess. Let the cry of repeal be sounded. Let freemen flock to Nebraska and Kansas, and swear on the altars of freedom, that it never shall be cursed with slavery. Let the North come to the unalterable resolve that no man shall be sent to Congress who will not pledge himself to vote against the admission of another slave State. -- Let us proclaim to the South that its faithless conduct has relieved us from all obligation to Compromises; that we scout and spurn them, as the shallow artifice of petty tyrants, who only observe them so long as may suit their own pleasure and designs, and that from henceforth we declare an unflinching, irreconcilable war with slavery, in all its conditions and aspects, as the sole cause of the injustice and humiliations we are called upon to suffer!

Let us do this, and Southern slaveholders will live to curse the day that they stooped to use such plaint tools as Pierce, Douglass & Co.

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