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‘ [24] our peace, and will discountenance all efforts to continue or renew such agitation, whenever, wherever, or however the attempt may be made; and we will maintain the system as essential to the nationality of the Whig party and the integrity of the Union.’

When Congress assembled, after the election of President Pierce, on the first Monday of December, 1853, although the abolition fanatics had not ceased to agitate, crimination and recrimination between the sectional parties had greatly subsided, and a comparative political calm everywhere prevailed. President Pierce, in his annual message, felicitously referred to the ‘sense of repose and security to the public mind throughout the Confederacy,’ and pledged himself ‘that this repose should suffer no shock during his official term,’ if he had the power to avert it.

The Compromise of 1850 ought never to have been disturbed by Congress. After long years of agitation and alarm, the country, under its influence, had enjoyed a season of comparative repose, inspiring the people with bright hopes for the future.

But how short-lived and delusive was this calm! The very Congress which had commenced so auspiciously, by repealing the Missouri Compromise before the end of its first session, reopened the floodgates of sectional strife, which, it was fondly imagined, had been closed forever. This has ever since gone on increasing in violence and malignity, until it has involved the country in the greatest and most sanguinary civil war recorded in history.

And here it is necessary, for a correct understanding of the subject, to refer to the origin, the nature, and the repeal of this celebrated Compromise.

It was passed on the 6th of March, 1820, after a long and violent struggle in Congress between the friends and the opponents of what was then called the Missouri restriction.1 This proposed to require from Missouri, as a condition precedent to her admission as a State, that she should ‘ordain and establish that there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude’ therein, except as a punishment for crime.

1 U. S. Laws, 545.

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