of national faith, and mouthed feebly.
When it came to measures of solid resistance, men of this class instinctively felt released from the obligation to return fugitive slaves, and legislatures began to throw fresh obstacles in the1
way of kidnappers.
More practical was the incorporation, first in Massachusetts
, of ‘Emigrant Aid’2
associations to pour free-State settlers into Kansas
, slavery having the shortest cut to the scene of competition.
Yet, as the Rev. T. W. Higginson
asked, in a sermon to3
flock announcing a Revolution begun, of what use was it to make of Nebraska
a transplanted Massachusetts
, when Massachusetts
herself had been miserably wanting to the cause of freedom?
In comparing the Nebraska
with the Texas
excitement, one feels that the Fugitive Slave Law
was a weakener of resistance in 1854, since it afforded a satisfying scapegoat to outraged Northern feeling.
‘Add an unlimited number of slave States to the Union
, and we will not return your runaways (or at least such is our intention)!’
In 1845, it ran: ‘Admit another slave State, and the Union
is ipso facto
The best of the Free Soil
in Congress were still denying all thought of interfering with slavery in the States; Giddings
dodging the plain inquiry whether they admitted any
Constitutional obligation with respect to fugitive slaves.
, discounting the present triumph of slavery in the case of Kansas
, and anticipating yet greater,—“slavery not only luxuriating in all new Territories, but stealthily creeping into the free States themselves,” Greeley's Struggle for Slavery Extension, p. 81.
and the country ‘no longer a land of freedom and constitutional liberty,’—could still proclaim his acquiescence in the Compromise of 1850 (of which he had never ‘spoken irreverently’), and could declare: ‘I have always heard, with equal pity and disgust, threats of disunion in the free States and similar threats in the slaveholding States.’
Well did Gerrit Smith
write to6 Mr. Garrison
: ‘I have acquired no new hope of the peaceful
termination of slavery by coming to Washington