The Agitation of the Slavery Question?
Is it not manifest that all these efforts of pro-slavery men, whether wearing the robe and seated on the bench of the Supreme Court, or claiming to represent and legislate for the people of Kansas, are but [illegible] to warm a sentiment which must ultimately prove fatal to their designs? We have no fear of the end. It is only the discord and disorder through which, if their present course is continued, that end must be reach, which we dread. The effect, thus far, of the gross outrages of the pro-slavery men in Kansas; the infamous acts of its legislature, elected by fraud and violence; the unfairness of its judiciary; the direct sanction given by the Executive of the United States to the worst crimes committed in support of the most abominable principles; and, last of all, the plain bias in favor of slavery in the minds of a majority of the most august body in the United States – the Supreme Court 0 the effect of all these has been to shake the confidence of the people in the Court and to weaken their attachment. The judiciary of this country, [illegible] and thought of other [illegible], was former supposed to [illegible] dices and predilections. It breathed the [illegible] atmosphere of reason and law. Such an opinion, however, as was read by Judge Taney, in the case of Dred Scott, must go far to change this belief. It must lead out people to entertain the same charge against the judiciary which Junius urged against the English courts in his day – that, however, wisely and well individual cases may be determined by them, our courts have become political instruments, and are, in fact, under the form of law, endeavoring to effect substantial revolutions.
But their efforts are certain to fail. Truth and nature, and nature’s laws, are against them. Only in their failure and their final despairing struggles, let them not pull down the fabric of government which they were appointed to sustain. Or, if confusion follow their efforts, at least, let it be attributed to its rightful authors, and not to those who stand with Washington, Henry, Jefferson, Franklin, and the fathers, and contend for the old, and, until within a few years, the uniform policy of the government. Let the blame rest with those who contend that slavery is natural, national, and above the power of legislation, and not with those who regard it as local and municipal. Judge McLean has said that he is not bound by the volunteer opinion of the pro-slavery majority of the Supreme Court, and it is understood that Judge Curtis dissents with almost equal force. Nor, were its decision ever so binding, can the Supreme Court now give to slavery an optional character. We are past all that. The most it can do is to infuse fresh spirit into the slavery cohorts, and animate them to raise now troubles. For our own part, we had hoped that the inauguration of Mr. Buchanan would introduce a new and auspicious era; and we have been prepared – we believe a considerable proportion of the North are prepared – to support moderate and conciliatory measures emanating from it. But the movements in Kansas, and the uncalled for obtrusion of the Supreme Court on the troubled arena of politics, do not anger well for the future. The Republicans wish for peace; they desire to turn their swords into ploughshares, and devote themselves wholly to an honored and profitable industry. But [illegible] purchased with a sacrifice of their rights, and an abandonment of sacred principles, they will accept never –never.
Phila. North American