calculated to arouse the indignation of the Southern
The time of Congress was wasted in violent debates on the subject of slavery.
In these it would be difficult to determine which of the opposing parties was guilty of the greatest excess.
Whilst the South
threatened disunion unless the agitation should cease, the North
treated such threats with derision and defiance.
It became manifest to every reflecting man that two geographical parties, the one embracing the people north and the other those south of Mason
's line, were in rapid process of formation—an event so much dreaded by the Father
of his Country.
It is easy to imagine the effect of this agitation upon the proud, sensitive, and excitable people of the South
One extreme naturally begets another.
Among the latter there sprung up a party as fanatical in advocating slavery as were the abolitionists of the North
in denouncing it. At the first, and for a long time, this party was small in numbers, and found it difficult to excite the masses to support its extreme views.
These Southern fanatics, instead of admitting slavery to be an evil in itself, pronounced it to be a great good.
Instead of admitting that it had been reluctantly recognized by the Constitution
as an overruling political necessity, they extolled it as the surest support of freedom among the white race.
If the fanatics of the North
denounced slavery as evil and only evil, and that continually, the fanatics of the South
upheld it as fraught with blessings to the slave as well as to his master.
Far different was the estimation in which it was held by Southern patriots and statesmen both before and for many years after the adoption of the Constitution
These looked forward hopefully to the day when, with safety both to the white
race, it might be abolished by the people of the slaveholding States themselves, who alone possessed the power.
The late President
, as a Senator of the United States
, from December, 1834, until March, 1845, lost no opportunity of warning his countrymen of the danger to the Union
from a persistence in this anti-slavery agitation, and of beseeching them to suffer the people of the South
to manage their domestic affairs in their own way. All they desired, to employ their ofted