would have sanctioned with alacrity.
His inaugural address, with its sophistical argument for the limitation1
of the powers of Congress over slavery in the District
, had been preceded by a speech at Richmond
as a native Virginian, the slightest sympathy with abolitionism.
's message, on the other hand, made no3
allusion to the subject.
In the confusion caused by an extra session of Congress, the gag-rule was momentarily relaxed, and John Quincy Adams
opportunity to reopen his inexhaustible budget of anti-slavery petitions.
At the regular session in December a new5
gag-rule was promptly applied.
Meanwhile, two incidents showed unmistakably the Southern
purpose to make ‘pro-slavery’ and ‘national’ (or Federal) synonymous terms.
One was the reluctance of the Senate, till the North
showed its teeth, to confirm Edward Everett
nomination to the court of St. James, on account of his anti-slavery views.7
The other (for no game was too small for this inquisition) was the same body's refusal to confirm the postmaster of Philadelphia
unless he discharged Joshua Coffin
(newly appointed) from his letter-carriers; Coffin
's alleged offence being that he had once assisted in ransoming a kidnapped free person of color.8
The sacrifice demanded was made, and even letter-carriers were taught to know the hand that fed them.
More significant of the nominal character of the socalled Union were the efforts of Georgia
account of the refusal of Northern governors to surrender as felons citizens charged with aiding slaves to escape, to establish quarantine against the ships of Maine
and New York.
More desperately unconstitutional was the proposal of Governor McDonald
, that even10
packages from New York or any like offending State