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[123] journals and other oracles imperiously, wrathfully, demanded the instant suppression and extinction of the “incendiaries” and “fanatics,” under the usual penalty of a dissolution of the Union;1 to which was now added the annihilation of Northern prosperity and consequence through a retributive withdrawal of Southern trade.2 The commercial and political interests at the North, which regarded Southern favor as the sheetanchor of their hopes, eagerly responded to these overtures, clamoring for penal enactments and popular proofs of Northern fidelity to Constitutional obligations. The former were not forthcoming; in fact, the most adroit and skillful draftsman would have found it difficult to frame any such law as was required — any one that would have subserved the end in view — that would not have directly and glaringly contravened the constitution or bill of rights of even the most “conservative” State. Yet President Jackson did not hesitate, in his Annual Message of December 2, 1835, to say:
I must also invite your attention to the painful excitement produced in the South by attempts to circulate, through the mails, inflammatory appeals addressed to the passions of the slaves, in prints, and in various sorts of publications, calculated to stimulate them to insurrection, and to produce all the horrors of a servile war.

There is, doubtless, no respectable portion of our fellow-countrymen who can be so far misled as to feel any other sentiment than that of indignant regret at conduct so destructive of the harmony and peace of the country, and so repugnant to the principles of our national compact, and to the dictates of humanity and religion. Our happiness and prosperity essentially depend upon peace within our borders — and peace depends upon the maintenance, in good faith, of those compromises of the Constitution upon which the Union is founded. It is fortunate for the country that tie good sense, the generous feeling, and the deep-rooted attachment of the people of the non-slave-holding States to the Union, and to their fellow-citizens of the same blood in the South, have given so strong and impressive a tone to the sentiments entertained against the proceedings of the misguided persons who have engaged in these unconstitutional and wicked attempts, and especially against the emissaries from foreign parts who have dared to interfere in this matter, as to authorize the hope that those attempts will no longer be persisted in. But, if these expressions of the public will shall not be sufficient to effect so desirable a result, not a doubt can be entertained that the non-slaveholding States, so far from countenancing the slightest interference with the constitutional rights of the South, will be prompt to exercise their authority in suppressing, so far as in them lies, whatever is calculated to produce the evil.

In leaving the care of other branches of this interesting subject to the State authorities, to whom they properly belong, it is nevertheless proper for Congress to take such measures as will prevent the Post-Office Department, which was designed to

1 The following is an extract from the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle of October, 1833.

We firmly believe that, if the Southern States do not quickly unite, and declare to the North, if the question of Slavery be longer discussed in any shape, they will instantly secede from the Union, that the question must be settled, and very soon, by the sword, as the only possible means of self-preservation.

February 16, 1836, both houses of the Virginia Legislature agreed to the following:

Resolved, That the non-slaveholding States of the Union are respectfully but earnestly requested promptly to adopt penal enactments, or such other measures as will effectually suppress all associations within their respective limits purporting to be, or having the character of, Abolition societies.

Resolutions, similar in spirit and demand, were adopted by the Legislatures of South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, and doubtless other Slave States.

2 The Richmond Whig, in the course of a fulmination against the Abolitionists, said:

The people of the North must go to hanging these fanatics if they would not lose the benefit of the Southern trade, and they will do it. * * * Depend upon it, the Northern people will never sacrifice their present lucrative trade with the South, so long as the hanging of a few thousands will prevent it.

Not a bad calculation, provided “the Northern people” and the enjoyers of “the lucrative trade” aforesaid had been identical; but they were not.

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