Correspondingly small, in its own relation, was the group of three popular leaders who brought about this national degradation.
All of them nearing or past the term of threescore years and ten, and standing on the brink of the grave,—two of them gray and extinct volcanoes of Presidential ambition, the third still glowing cavernously,—Clay, Calhoun
, and Webster
worked, in unequal and even discordant partnership, to establish a new reign of terror for anti-slavery fanatics and ensure the lasting domination of the Slave Power
They wielded a packed Senate in whose twenty-seven standing committees the South
had sixteen chairmanships, to say1
nothing of those which she had assigned to Northern doughfaces, while in sixteen committees she had carefully secured a majority of actual slaveholders, and from all had insolently excluded the three truly Northern2 Senators
, and Chase
A House, packed3
in like manner, completed the Congress
whose destiny it was to pour oil upon the flames of the agitation it sought to extinguish.
For eight months after Mr. Clay
introduced his so-called Compromise Resolutions, they,4
and the measures to which they gave birth in an Omnibus Bill, engrossed the attention of both Houses and of the country.
No appropriation bill could be passed.5
Everybody was in a fever of excitement till a ‘settlement’ should be arrived at; and when the settlement was enacted, all peace and quiet was at an end. Clay
's programme was: To yield to the inevitable in6
the case of California
, and admit her as a free State—