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Lxvi.

Time passed, and it became necessary to provide for this territory an organized government. Suddenly, without notice in the public press, or the prayer of a single petition, or one word of open recommendation [269] from the President, after an acquiescence of thirty-four years, and the irreclaimable possession by the South of its special share under this compromise, in breach of every obligation of honor, compact, and good neighborhood, and in contemptuous disregard of the outgushing sentiments of an aroused North, this time-honored Prohibition—in itself a landmark of Freedom—was overturned, and the vast region now known as Kansas and Nebraska was opened to Slavery. It is natural that a measure thus repugnant in character should be pressed by arguments mutually repugnant. It was urged on two principal reasons, so opposite and inconsistent as to fight with each other: one being, that, by the repeal of the Prohibition, the Territory would be left open to the entry of slaveholders with their slaves, without hindrance; and the other being, that the people would be left absolutely free to determine the question for themselves, and to prohibit the entry of slaveholders with their slaves, if they should think best. With some the apology was the alleged rights of slaveholders; with others it was the alleged rights of the people. With some it was openly the extension of Slavery; and with others it was openly the establishment of Freedom, under the guise of Popular Sovereignty. The measure, thus upheld in defiance of reason, was carried through Congress in defiance of all securities of legislation. These things I mention that you may see in what foulness the present Crime was engendered. It was carried, first, by whipping in, through Executive influence and patronage, men who acted against their own declared judgment and the known will of their constituents; secondly, by thrusting out of place, both in the Senate and House of Representatives, important business, long pending, and usurping its room; thirdly, by trampling under foot the rules of the House of Representatives, always before the safeguard of the minority; and, fourthly, by driving it to a close during the very session in which it originated, so that it might not be arrested by the indignant voice of the People. Such are some of the means by which this snap judgment was obtained. If the clear will of the people had not been disregarded, it could not have passed. If the Government had not nefariously interposed, it could not have passed. If it had been left to its natural place in the order of business, it could not have passed. If the rules of the House and the rights of the minority had not been violated, it could not have passed. If it had been allowed to go over to another Congress, when the People might be heard, it would have been ended; and then the Crime we now deplore would have been without its first seminal life.

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