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
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.
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.