previous next
[349] amendment which without disguise repudiated the prohibition and legalized slavery in the Territory. Sumner met this proposition the next day by giving notice of another amendment which in positive terms excluded any abrogation of the prohibition. Douglas, finding it necessary to go further in order to satisfy the South, and emboldened by the apparent indifference of the North, a week later reported a new bill, which created the two territories of Kansas and Nebraska, and declared the prohibition ‘inoperative,’ for the reason that it had been ‘superseded by the principles of the legislation of 1850.’1

The antislavery newspapers gave the alarm even before the bill was printed by the Senate.2 The other Northern journals, however, were slow to recognize its import, and they delayed for several weeks—some for a month or more—to take definite ground against it.3 Those who had insisted on submission to the Compromise of 1850 as essential to the national peace, who had denounced Free Soilers as fanatics and traitors, and made light of all apprehensions of the progress of the slave-power, did not find it easy to change front at once. Some

1 Douglas, February 7, added the term ‘void’ to ‘inoperative,’ changed the phrase ‘superseded by’ to ‘inconsistent with,’ and further amplified the clause. Benton, in the House, called the repealing provision ‘a little stump speech injected into the belly of the bill.’

2 New York Tribune, Jan. 6, 9, 10; New York Evening Post, Jan. 6, 7, 17, 24, 25, 26, 28, 1854; Boston Commonwealth, Jan. 9, 11, 16, 21; ‘National Era,’ Jan. 12, 19, 26, and Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23, 1854. There are brief references to the scheme in the New York Evening Post, Dec. 10, 15, 1853. The ‘National Era,’ as early as April 14, 1853, in reviewing at length the failure to organize the Territory during the session which had just closed, unfolded the designs of the slaveholding—interest, and called for a positive affirmation of the prohibition in any subsequent bill. The Boston Commonwealth, March 28, 1853, was vigilant at that time in the same direction, and noted that the partisans of slavery had obstructed the organization of the Territory at the preceding session. That journal gave a warning of their purpose to make it a slave State, Oct. 24, Nov. 5, and Dec. 31, 1853. The earliest letters Sumner received in relation to Douglas's bill were from John Jay, Jan. 16, 1854, and from Henry Wilson, January 18. C. F. Adams's letter, January 18, reviewing the political situation, makes no reference to it. To Mr. Jay belongs the credit of starting the earliest protest in New York,—the public meeting held in Broadway Tabernacle, January 30.

3 The Boston ‘Atlas's’ first notice of the scheme was January 11, and its first article was on January 19; the ‘Journal's’ first article on January 25; the ‘Advertiser's’ on January 30; the ‘Courier's,’ a very brief one, on February 9. All the editorial matter concerning the measure in the last-named journal during the whole controversy would not equal in space one of its several articles on the Eastern Question. The Springfield Republican, January 6, objected to the bill in a brief paragraph, but its first full article on the subject did not appear till February 8. The National Intelligencer's first article against the bill was published February 7, and others followed February 21 and 28, —the three articles filling many columns. The ‘National Era,’ October 19 of the same year, noted, in a review of the early proceedings connected with the measure, the tardy awakening of public sentiment.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Nebraska (Nebraska, United States) (1)
Kansas (Kansas, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Douglas (3)
Charles Sumner (2)
John Jay (2)
Henry Wilson (1)
Thomas H. Benton (1)
Charles Francis Adams (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: