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[216] though abortive, movements of the same kind were also made during the year in Kentucky and West1 Virginia, and these facts effectually dispose of the silly allegation that the abolitionists hindered spontaneous emancipation on the part of the South. Henry Clay so far chimed in with the sentiment of his native State as to oppose, in a public speech at Lexington, the2 dismemberment of Mexico, or the acquisition of territory for slaveholding propagandism.

Other symptoms that the occupation of the City of3 Mexico by the American army of invasion did not mean a truce to the ‘irrepressible conflict’ were the passage, or attempted passage, of laws to protect colored citizens4 against the slave-hunter and the kidnapper by Northern States not already thus fortified; the secession of the New York Young Democracy (Barnburners) on the issue of slavery extension; and the consequent carrying of the State election by the Whigs by a vast majority—a prophecy, as it seemed to Edmund Quincy, of the new5 birth of a great Northern party.

The Wilmot Proviso was the token of the growing Northern purpose to make a stand on the principle of non-extension of slaveholding, slave soil, and slave representation. Offered in the House, and carried, as an6 amendment to the ‘Three Millions Bill’—or the measure7 providing for the purchase of a peace with Mexico—it was met in the Senate by John C. Calhoun, in the most important speech of the year. He showed that the slave8 States were already in a minority in the House of Representatives and in the Electoral College; in the Senate they were evenly balanced against the North, fourteen to fourteen. It was now proposed to stay Southern increase, and give full play to Northern preponderance.

‘Sir,’ declared Calhoun,

the day that the balance between9 the two sections of the country—the slaveholding States and the non-slaveholding States—is destroyed, is a day that will not be far removed from political revolution, anarchy, civil war, and widespread disaster. The balance of this system is in the slaveholding

1 Lib. 17.174, 194.

2 Nov. 13, 1847; Lib. 17.189, 193.

3 Sept. 13-15, 1847.

4 Lib. 17.27, 147; 18.22.

5 Lib. 17.182.

6 Lib. 17.34.

7 Lib. 17.42.

8 Feb. 19, 1847; Lib. 17.34.

9 Lib. 17.34.

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