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Mr. Everett made a speech, February 8, against the bill. He contended that the Compromise of 1850, which he had approved, was not intended to impair, and did not impair, the prohibition of the Missouri Act; but beyond this position his speech had little point. In the presence of a transcendent issue, he gave disproportionate space to the effect of a territorial government on the rights of Indian tribes. He indulged in compliments to Douglas and his coadjutors altogether undeserved; seemed to recognize no great interest in peril; set aside the one vital argument against the measure by assuming that the region in question would not by reason of its physical character ever become slaveholding;1 declined expressly to say aught concerning the great question of slavery,—the only one at issue,—lest he should kindle unkind feeling between the sections; put on an equal footing the Christianity, the patriotism, and the moral excellence of the pro-slavery and antislavery forces; deprecated sectional agitation as calculated to retard emancipation; and looked forward to the final settlement of the historic controversy by the removal of the African race to the land of their fathers.2 Of indignant protest, of solemn appeal, of earnest remonstrance, —all demanded by the occasion,—this speech of New England's foremost orator contained nothing. Not with such reluctant and spiritless resistance can a great cause ever be maintained against passion, ambition, and the greed for dominion. It was well that Massachusetts had then in the Senate another voice than Everett's to speak for her.

1 This passage was seized upon by the advocates of the bill to prove that it did not involve the extension of slavery. The only prominent journal in Massachusetts which supported the measure, the Boston Post, kept the passage in type, and repeated it in several numbers, as a sufficient answer to the principal argument of its opponents. Wade said in the Senate, Feb. 23. 1855. referring to this position of Everett: ‘I remember him who made that soothing declaration; and I know that for making it, and for partially shrinking from the responsibilities which he ought boldly to have assumed, able as he was, and old statesman as he was, possessing ability hardly equalled in the country, he has been driven by the intelligent people of Massachusetts into private life, there to remain forever; and, sir, the verdict is most just.’

2 A spectator wrote at the time that Everett failed to answer the expectation of the large audience which listened in breathless attention. He spoke in a low tone. and without any glow. except when he dwelt on Webster's support of the Compromise of 1850. (Mrs. Paulina W. Davis, ‘Liberator,’ March 31.)

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