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[350] sincerely thought that the bill was a mere personal scheme of Douglas to win the favor of the South, with no possibility of success.1 It is fair to say also that few at the time, even among well-informed persons, realized the geographical relations and vast capabilities of the Territory in question. The conspirators, when they saw that the Northern protest came chiefly from those who had persevered in opposing the Compromise of 1850, advanced with more confident steps; and Dixon's amendment and Douglas's second bill were the result of the apathy of the free States.

Douglas, January 24, the day after the introduction of his second bill, pressed its consideration; but opposition being made, it was postponed to the 30th, and made the special order from day to day till disposed of. The Northern Whig and Democratic members, who were from their own convictions or the convictions of their constituents opposed to the extension of slavery, were from one cause or another averse to any bold and prompt demonstration; and the few Free Soilers were obliged without other support to take the lead in the interval of six days.2

Chase and Sumner and four representatives, the Free Soil or Independent Democratic members, issued an Appeal to the country. It was drawn by Chase, and was well adapted in substance and style to its purpose. It explained clearly the purport and effect of the measure, its reversal of the settled policy of the nation, and its design to establish slavery in an immense territory guaranteed to liberty by solemn compact. It arraigned the bill ‘as a gross violation of a sacred pledge; as a criminal betrayal of precious rights; as part and parcel of an atrocious plot to exclude from a vast unoccupied region immigrants from the Old World and free laborers from our own States, and convert it into a dreary region of despotism inhabited by masters and slaves.’ It implored the interposition of Christians and Christian ministers, and closed thus—

For ourselves we shall resist it by speech and vote, and with all the abilities which God has given us. Even if overcome in the impending struggle, we shall not submit. We shall go home to our constituents, erect anew the standard of freedom, and call on the people to come to the rescue of the country from the domination of slavery. We will not despair, for the cause of human freedom is the cause of God.

1 Springfield Republican, February 8.

2 National Era, Oct. 19, 1854.

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