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[404] ‘sovereigns’ could not pass upon and settle the question of slave or free society till a State government was formed. Meanwhile, the ‘institution’ would have taken possession, and could only have been expelled by force. In 1847, a public meeting at Richmond, Va., affirmed the right to1 take slave property into the Territories north of 36° 30′, and proposed to assert it ‘by arms.’ With the right sanctioned by Congress, and settlement actually made, the whole South could be counted on to maintain the advantage by arms. It only remained to secure Federal protection for slave property in transit in the free States to complete the pro-slavery mastery of the entire Union.

The reaction at the North in face of this prospect— the free belt of the continent cut in halves, a barrier raised to the westward movement of population and the incoming of emigrants from abroad, and an indefinite number of slave States creatable to maintain the Senate as the impregnable bulwark of the Slave Power—the reaction, we say, was immediate and tremendous, but as futile after as before the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. It was all very well to hang Douglas in effigy—for2 legislatures to protest, and eleven hundred women led by Mrs. Stowe to remonstrate, and the New England clergy to3 come out in a petition more than three thousand strong, embracing the chiefs of all the denominations and the most conspicuous censors of the abolitionists, like Lyman4 Beecher, Francis Wayland, and Leonard Bacon.5 The Slave Power had taken its stride. Even the Boston ‘respectability,’ the Hunkers, stood aghast at the breach

1 Circa Mar. 1; Lib. 17.38.

2 Lib. 24.38, 51, 55, 59, 63.

3 Lib. 24.33, 35; Ms. Feb. (18?), 1854, Mrs. Stowe to W. L. G. Lib. 24:[42], 57.

4 Lib. 24.57.

5 This memorial was received by the pro-slavery press North and South with the utmost contumely (Lib. 24: 50, 53), and with marked coarseness by Senator Douglas (Lib. 24: [42], 54). ‘All this,’ wrote Mr. Garrison, ‘is equally instructive and refreshing. For more than twenty years, the clergy of New England have denounced the abolitionists as lacking in sound judgment, good temper, Christian courtesy, and brotherly kindness, in their treatment of the question of Slavery,’ and as having, therefore, ‘needlessly brought upon themselves the hot indignation of the South; and now, these reverend critics, waking up at last to a sense of their duty, attempt to prevent the introduction of slavery to an immense territory plighted to freedom, [and] are denounced by the minions of the Slave Power as bitterly as the most “ ultra” of the ‘Garrisonians’’ (Lib. 24: 50).

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