Secession Era Editorials Project

Furman University Department of History


New Territories.

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press [Democratic]

(6 January 1854)

We see it stated that the Committee on Territories in the Senate will probably report bills for the organization of three new territories, to be formed out of the territory lying between the western boundaries of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota, and the Rocky Mountains, and extending north and south between the 34th and 42d parallels of north latitude. The names of these new territories, it is further reported, will be Nebraska, Kansas, and Cherokee.

It is very probable that an attempt will be made by the abolitionists in Congress to revive the slavery prohibition question, by urging the embodiament of the Wilmot proviso in the bills for the organization of these new territories; and it may be that indiscreet southern men will seek the adoption of the Missouri compromise line in the same bills.

There is but one way to get along with the question, and that is to exclude both the Wilmot proviso and the Missouri compromise from all territorial bills. The public mind of the country, we apprehend, is settled in respect to this thing -- settled upon the platform of Gen. Cass' Nicholson letter. It is no part of the business of Congress to legislate for the territories. All Congress has to do with these embryo States is, to set the machinery of their governments in motion, and the people inhabiting them will take care of the rest. If they want slavery they will have it, and vice versa, and Congress cannot help it, on the same principle that Congress could not help it should the people of Michigan determine that slavery might exist within their borders.

We trust there will be found majorities in both houses of Congress who will promptly, and without debate, vote down all propositions, as connected with these territorial bills, relating to slavery. -- That is the only safe, it is the only democratic, disposition that can be made of them. If they are entertained, they will lead to interminable discussion, the event of which will be in no respect propitious.

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