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ostentation, was it pretended that an act, violating the greatest compromise of our legislative history, and setting loose the foundations of all compromise, was derived out of a compromise. Then followed in the Bill the further declaration, which is entirely without precedent, and which has been aptly called "a stump speech in its belly," namely, "it being the true intent and meaning of this act, not to legislate Slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the constitution of the United States." Here were smooth words, such as belong to a cunning tongue, enlisted in a bad cause. But, whatever may have been their various hidden meanings, this at least was evident, that, by their effect, the Congressional Prohibition of Slavery, which had always been regarded as a seven-fold shield, covering the whole Louisiana Territory north of 36° 30′, was now removed, while a principle was declared, which would render the supplementary Prohibition of Slavery in Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington, "inoperative and void," and thus open to Slavery all these vast regions, now the rude cradles of mighty States. Here you see the magnitude of the mischief contemplated. But my purpose now is with the Crime against Kansas,
and I shall not stop to expose the conspiracy beyond.
Mr. President, men are wisely presumed to intend the natural consequences of their conduct, and to seek what their acts seem to promote. Now, the Nebraska Bill, on its very face, openly cleared the way for Slavery, and it is not wrong to presume that its originators intended the natural consequences of such an act, and sought in this way to extend Slavery. Of course, they did. And this is the first stage in the Crime against Kansas.
But this was speedily followed by other developments. The bare-faced scheme was soon whispered, that Kansas must be a slave State. In conformity with this idea was the Government of this unhappy Territory organized in all its departments; and thus did the President, by whose complicity the Prohibition of Slavery had been overthrown, lend himself to a new complicity-giving to the conspirators a lease of connivance, amounting even to copartnership. The Governor, Secretary, Chief Justice, Associate Justices, Attorney, and Marshal, with a whole caucus of other stipendiaries, nominated by the President, and confirmed by the Senate, were all commended as friendly to Slavery. No man, with the sentiments of Washington, or Jefferson, or Franklin, found any favor; nor is it too much to say, that, had these great patriots
once inore come among us, not one of them, with his recorded unretracted opinions on Slavery, could have been nominated by the President or confirmed by the Senate for any post in that Territory. With such auspices the conspiracy proceeded. Even in advance of the Nebraska Bill, secret societies were organized in Missouri, ostensibly to protect her institutions; and afterwards, under the name of "Self-Defensive Associations," and of "Blue Lodges," these were multiplied throughout the western counties of that State, before any counter-movement from the North. It was confidently anticipated, that, by the activity of these societies, and the interest of slaveholders everywhere, with the advantage derived from the neighborhood of Missouri, and the influence of the Territorial Government, Slavery might be introduced into Kansas, quietly but surely, without arousing a conflict; that the crocodile egg might be stealthily dropped in the sunburnt soil, there to be hatched unobserved until it sent forth its reptile monster.
But the conspiracy was unexpectedly balked. The debate, which convulsed Congress, had stirred the whole country. Attention from all sides was directed upon Kansas, which at once became the favorite goal of emigration. The Bill had loudly declared that its object was "to leave the people perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic
institutions in their own way;" and its supporters everywhere challenged the determination of the question between Freedom and Slavery by a competition of emigration. Thus, while opening the Territory to Slavery, the Bill also opened it to emigrants from every quarter, who might by their votes redress the wrong. The populous North, stung by a sharp sense of outrage, and inspired by a noble cause, poured into the debatable land, and promised soon to establish a supremacy of numbers there, involving, of course, a just supremacy of Freedom.
Then was conceived the consummation of the Crime against Kansas. What could not be accomplished peaceably, was to be accomplished forcibly. The reptile monster, that could not be quietly and securely hatched there, was to be pushed fullgrown into the Territory. All efforts were now given to the dismal work of forcing Slavery on Free Soil. In flagrant derogation of the very Popular Sovereignty whose name helped to impose this Bill upon the country, the atrocious object was now distinctly avowed. And the avowal has been followed by the act. Slavery has been forcibly introduced into Kansas, and placed under the formal safeguards of pretended law. How this was done, belongs to the argument.
In depicting this consummation, the simplest
outline, without one word of color, will be best. Whether regarded in its mass or its details, in its origin or its result, it is all blackness, illumined by nothing from itself, but only by the heroism of the undaunted men and women whom it environed. A plain statement of facts will be a picture of fearful truth, which faithful history will preserve in its darkest gallery. In the foreground all will recognize a familiar character, in himself a connecting link between the President and the border ruffian,-less conspicuous for ability than for the exalted place he has occupied,-who once sat in the seat where you now sit, sir; where once sat John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; also, where once sat Aaron Burr. I need not add the name of David R. Atchison. You have not forgotten that, at the session of Congress immediately succeeding the Nebraska Bill, he came tardily to his duty here, and then, after a short time, disappeared. The secret has been long since disclosed. Like Catiline, he stalked into this Chamber, reeking with conspiracy-immo in Senatum venit-and then like Catiline he skulked away-abiit, excessit, evasit, crupit—to join and provoke the conspirators, who at a distance awaited their congenial chief. Under the influence of his malign presence the Crime ripened to its fatal fruits, while the similitude with Catiline was again renewed in the