"The Past and the Present," Charleston (SC) Mercury, May 12, 1857, p. 2.
Charleston (SC) Mercury
The Past and the Present
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
THE PAST AND THE PRESENT
According to the late decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Southern States, by the Constitution of the United States, had an equal right with the Northern States to colonize, with their slaves, all of our Northwestern Territory, now constituting the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and all the Territory of Oregon, California, New Mexico, Minnesota and Nebraska. Such was our right - not by Squatter Sovereignty, but by the sovereignty of the States as equal proprietors of the Territory "belonging to the United States," securing to their citizens equal rights in our Territories.
Where are we now? Fraudulently ejected from all these magnificent domains, we are striving to appropriate one small Territory - Kansas; not so much, too, on account of its intrinsic value, as on account of its value for our defence, to prevent Missouri from being surrounded by Free States and turned into emancipation.
Nor is this all. Having surrendered to our Northern confederates such a splendid country - richer than all Europe - it might be supposed that we would at least now be allowed peace. So far from it, our surrender is now construed, by the pampered insolence of successful wrong, into actual right. But seven years ago, we submitted to be ejected from California and the whole Pacific, by the meanest and most barefaced trickery and fraud. We have given up Nebraska. We have submitted to be plundered of our slaves every day in the week - to our citizens being murdered in the effort to recover them. The Tariff has just been modified to suit the interests of the Northern States, by which heavy tribute is exacted from us alone to support the Government and to benefit their monopolies.
To all this we have quietly submitted. And yet where are we? We are only more harassed and despised than ever. Massachussetts appropriates one hundred thousand dollars to wrest Kansas from us. New York passes a law, rendering it penal for a master to carry his slave into that State, merely as a traveller, although it has been solemnly determined by the Supreme Court of the United States that this is his right. Ohio and other states do likewise. The whole North is agitated, and the politics of the Union turn on the institution of slavery. In St. Louis an Abolition party has been organized, and masters the city. New York charters a company, with millions of money, to colonize the slave States with a free population, in order that slavery may be overthrown. A powerful and systematic effort is making to obtain possession of the General Government, and to wield it against the South. Such is the past and present. What shall be our future? Shall the base spirit of submission, and the all-engrossing pursuit of private gain, which have brought upon us our present ignominy and peril, continue to prevail in the councils of the South? Or shall we arise, and shake off the fatal and ignominious bondage imposed upon us by our faithless and insatiable confederates?