Washington (DC) National Era, “Slavery in Oregon,” August 13, 1857

    Source citation
    “Slavery in Oregon,” Washington (DC) National Era, August 13, 1857, p. 132: 3.
    Original source
    Philadelphia (PA) Times
    Newspaper: Publication
    Washington National Era
    Newspaper: Headline
    Slavery in Oregon
    Newspaper: Page(s)
    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Meghan Rafferty, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    From the Philadelphia Morning Times, July 30.

    From time to time, during the past two years, rumors of a rather vague and indefinite character have been reaching us from the distant Territory of Oregon, relative to the introduction of Slavery. Although they have come so often, and in such a shape that we were convinced of their truthfulness to a partial extent, yet, we did not believe that any deliberate plan could be formed to accomplish that purpose, much less that a regular attempt would be made to carry it into execution. The last California steamer brings news, however, well calculated to startle us from our indifference.

    A newspaper is about to be started, backed by capital and conducted with ability, to advocate the establishment of the “peculiar institution” in this great and fertile Territory. Beyond this, it is believed that many of the leading men of the Democratic party in the Territory favor such a measure. Among these is said to be Joseph Lane. If this latter influence be added to the formidable auspices under which the publication of the newspaper is begun, the movement assumes a most serious strength. The hardy yeomanry of the Oregon Valley will be forced to use all the intelligence and firmness with which God has endowed them, to escape the fastening of this curse upon their young and lovely country. Let them look to it in time. Let them, ere it be too late, see that the curse, which has blighted the rich valleys of Virginia, and the fertile plains of the Carolinas, does not affix is withering influence upon them.

    This is but another of those movements which have their heads in the South and their tails in the Territories. The Slavery Propaganda are ceaselessly vigilant. Wherever an opportunity occurs to even propose the introduction of Slavery, they seize upon it, and endeavor to give it force and direction. The ingenuity, perseverance, intellect, and endurance, which the followers of the Order of Ignatius Loyola show in penetrating to the remotest regions, in overcoming the greatest perils of travel and of climate, find their prototypes in their twin instrumentality of despotism, Slavery. Now, the latter seeks by force to get Cuba; anon, it is at work in Lower California and Sonora; again, in Central America; then, it struggles in Kansas; and yonder, away north in Oregon, to force its way, amid human sorrow and suffering, to a father territorial expansion.

    Everywhere, now, the battle rages throughout the continent upon this question. By the result of the Revolution, Slavery received a terrible blow; and the impetus thus given to Freedom bore her in triumph throughout the North until every form which pined and drooped under chains north of Mason and Dixon’s line emancipated. For twenty years, Slavery has been slowly but surely recovering, under the protecting care and fostering influence of the General Government, until it threatens seriously the life of Freedom itself. It is a death-grapple—a struggle from which one or the other combatant can rally hereafter only for a momentary spasmodic combat.

    We have faith in humanity—we have faith in the triumph of right and justice. But “the price of Liberty is eternal vigilance,” and we must watch, and beat back the advancing tide of slavery aggression, wherever it threatens to mar and destroy. From Oregon to the coast of the Gulf it must be stayed, or paralysis and death will fall upon our political system—a system which has received whatever vitality it has only from the inspiring energies of Liberty.

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