previous next
[366] Massachusetts the Free Soilers entered into coalition with1 the Democrats for a division of offices. In 1850 came the Compromise, which still further undermined the Free Soil Party by indefinite postponement of the issue of slavery extension. As the New York Tribune said in 1851, from the point of view of Henry Clay: “There being no longer any immediate danger of the extension of slavery, the feeling against it cannot but subside.” Lib. 21.125; ante, p. 274. And John Van Buren, taking the stump with Henry B. Stanton and2 Isaiah Rynders for Frank Pierce in 1852, echoed the sentiment that the need of the Free Soil Party, from3 which he had ratted, ceased with the passage of the Compromise.

The superficiality charged against the party was illustrated in its attitude towards the Fugitive Slave Law. As Wendell Phillips pointed out in a speech at Worcester4 on August 1, 1851, the Free Soil objections to that statute all related to its defects as law, not to its main purpose to give effect to the Constitutional provision concerning runaways. If Ellen Craft, for example, had been seized, allowed the writ of habeas corpus and a jury trial, and still been sentenced to return into slavery, the Free Soilers had nothing to say. Their chief, John P. Hale, expressly avowed in the Senate of the United States on January 10, 1849:

I am willing—and I speak also in behalf of those who sent me here—I am willing that we should be held responsible, to the extent of the Constitutional obligation, for everything that may be required for the support and sustenance of American slavery. I am willing to go to the last letter in the bond. If you find in it the pound of flesh, take it; and if you find our heart's best blood written there, take it. I am ready to come up to the work freely, fairly, and fully, and to conform to the contract. Lib. 19.21.

Before ‘the contract’ the Free Soilers lowered their weapons. Of the ‘institution of Southern slavery,’ Senator Hale said in the above connection: ‘I do not wish5 to interfere with it. I do not wish to be aggressive. I ’

1 Lib. 19.178.

2 Lib. 22.101, 161.

3 Lib. 22.157.

4 Lib. 21.130.

5 Lib. 19.21.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Worcester (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
W. L. G. Lib (7)
John P. Hale (2)
Henry B. Stanton (1)
Isaiah Rynders (1)
Frank Pierce (1)
Wendell Phillips (1)
Henry Clay (1)
John Buren (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1852 AD (1)
August 1st, 1851 AD (1)
1851 AD (1)
1850 AD (1)
January 10th, 1849 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: