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[279] and intensity, he now declared to have its foundation in ‘unreal, ghostly abstractions.’ His Massachusetts1 fellow-citizens, reluctant to turn the fugitive from their doors, or assist in his capture, the Senator held bound to the discharge of ‘a disagreeable duty,’ adding: “Any man can perform an agreeable duty—it is not every man who can perform a disagreeable duty.” Lib. 20.70. Would Massachusetts, he asked sardonically, “conquer her own Prejudices?” Lib. 20.70.

The answer to this question was rendered at the polls in November, when the Whig party received a crushing2 defeat in Massachusetts. But more immediately response was made in Faneuil Hall by abolitionists and Free3 Soilers; by the colored people of Boston; by the voters of4 Plymouth County, the home of Webster; and widely by the religious press. These fanned the excitement5 attending the debates over the Compromise in Congress; those which grew out of the petitions for peaceable disunion6 presented by John P. Hale in the Senate; the calling of the Nashville Convention to concert disunion from the7 Southern point of view; the various Southern legislative8 preparations for the same event. South Carolina made an appropriation for arms, and Governor Floyd of9 Virginia, for the better recovery of fugitives, recommended a system of taxation by license “so arranged as to transfer entirely the trade from those States which have trampled under foot the Constitution of the United States to those which are still willing to abide by its compromises and recognize our rights under it.” Lib. 20.61. This system he would apply to the manufactures, live stock, and soil products of the delinquent States, and withal would have the South start factories of her own.

As in 1835, the attempt was made to cow the North10 through the medium of its trade, and the Union meetings11 with which the year opened and closed were largely sustained by the mercantile community. In Pennsylvania,12 the Democrats were ready to sacrifice the slavery issue to that of protection for the iron interest. In New York,

1 Lib. 20.70.

2 Lib. 20.182.

3 Lib. 20.47, 50.

4 Lib. 20.55.

5 Lib. 20.57, 58.

6 Lib. 20.29, 30, 38.

7 Lib. 21.3.

8 Lib. 20.5, 26, 31, 34.

9 Lib. 20.26; cf. 21.3.

10 Ante, 2.4.

11 Lib. 20.29, 34, 37, 177, 195, 197, 201, 202; 21.1, 3.

12 Ms. Feb. 16, 1850, B. Rush Plumly to W. L. G.

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