even as to declare that the act of annexation, being unconstitutional, was of no binding force; but as the event proved, the greater number, while having a sentimental aversion to slavery, often boldly expressed, were wanting in thorough conviction as to its moral wrong and its political dangers, and were bound to stop at any point of resistance where they were confronted by material sacrifices or a breach in the party.
In this majority, particularly in New England
, the influence of manufacturers and capitalists was dominant.
With them the protective tariff of 1842 was of paramount importance, Whig success essential to its maintenance, and Southern Whig co-operation essential to the election of a Whig Congress and President
; and they were indisposed to prolong a controversy which would embarrass their Southern allies and obstruct the restoration of the party to power.
There was, however, a body of Northern men in the two parties, more numerous among the Whigs
than among the Democrats, whose conscience and patriotism had been profoundly stirred by the annexation of Texas
, and who were determined from that time to make resistance to the extension and domination of the slave-power the paramount principle of political action.
Though seeming at first to be larger in numbers than under party pressure they afterwards proved to be, they were strong in enthusiasm, in moral power, and in the heroic qualities of their leaders.
They had, too, among the Christian
masses ‘great allies,’—‘exultations, agonies, and man's unconquerable mind.’
They stood together in this dark hour, perhaps the darkest in our history, with an indomitable spirit, indeed with what seemed the resolution of despair.
Having failed to prevent the incorporation of Texas
into the Union
, they now took their stand, hopeless as it was, against her admission as a slave
State, the final consummation of the plot.
If the result was already a foregone conclusion, they could at least, by a contest at every stage, attest their high purpose, and maintain their unity and vigor as a political force.
Lifted by their cause to a broader view, their aims now advanced beyond the immediate issue.
the time had come, as they saw it, when patriotism and moral duty required the people of the free States to put in abeyance material questions, and to unite not only in resisting future aggressions of slavery, but also in overthrowing the power it had usurped over national politics and legislation.
They had in view