which, being inconsistent with the principle of noninterven-tion by Congress with slavery in the States and Territories, as recognized by the legislation of 1850 (commonly called the Compromise Measures), is hereby declared inoperative and void; it being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States. Ibid., pp. 75, 88.This was both an historic and an instant falsehood. Neither the earlier nor the later compromise established general principles, but in each case a specific bargain was struck, which, nominally, was binding for all time, but legally was exposed to repudiation by Congress at any time, so far as promises or prohibitions were concerned. Nor was it the intent of the Slave Power to allow the people to establish free institutions, as the whole framing of the act showed, and as followed from the mere fact of tolerating slave property, like any other, pending organization as a State. As Benton well said in the debates in1 the House, the squatter ‘sovereignty’ provided for in the bill “only extends to the subject of slavery, and only to one side of that—the admitting side.” Lib. 24.70. All laws to prevent the bringing in of slaves were forbidden, and the
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