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[722] to the Republican party, afforded the latter an opportunity to secure at last the ascendency of its political principles. In short, the mere fact of the war being waged on the soil of the Southern States gave rise daily to new difficulties relative to the treatment of slaves, thus bringing the question of emancipation before the public in all its aspects, so as to demonstrate that no human skill could evade the issue.

Before the severance of the Union the fate of the fugitive slaves had been the stumbling-block between the States devoted to free labor and those where slavery prevailed. The former had never pretended to seek out the negro on his master's plantation to tell him, ‘Thou art free.’ The latter had not only accepted, but approved, of the suppression of the African, slave-trade, because its prohibition favored the internal traffic in slaves; so that this suppression was endorsed by the Montgomery Constitution in order to draw the border States, which exported slaves, into the Confederacy. But the people of the North never could see the owner of human flesh come to seize his property by force on the free soil of their own States without horror; and, on the other hand, Southern planters always considered the exercise of this right as a necessary guarantee to the maintenance of slavery at home. They succeeded in obtaining a recognition of their demands in the Federal statutes, while the fear of seeing the Union in jeopardy had induced the North since 1793 to endorse the principles of this sad legislation. When this first enactment ceased to be considered sufficient, it was followed by the aggravated law of 1850, more especially known by the name of the Fugitive Slave law. The Southern planters, who dreaded the excitement which the publicity of any runaway case might cause among their slaves, often complained that the new law was not applied with sufficient severity. Their complaints were not well founded, and the statistics bear evidence of the efficacy of this new law. The annual number of runaway slaves, which in 1850 amounted to one thousand and eleven, was reduced to eight hundred and three in 1860, notwithstanding the increase of the servile population, and the proportion of fugitives was thus reduced from one out of three thousand to one out of five thousand. ‘These escapes,’ dryly says the report of Mr. Buchanan's government, ‘cannot cause a ’

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