New York Herald, “The Kansas Question and the Anti-Slavery Disorganizers,” May 15, 1855

    Source citation
    "The Kansas Question and the Anti-Slavery Disorganizers - Union or Disunion," New York Herald, May 15, 1855, p. 4: 2-3.
    Newspaper: Publication
    New York Harold
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    The Kansas Question and the Anti-Slavery Disorganizers - Union or Disunion
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    Larrisha Burrell, Dickinson College
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    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 Kansas Question and the Anti Slavery Disorganizers- Union or Disunion.

    The ferocious philanthropists of our elder Seward organ, whose political platform has been whittled down to universal niggerdom, are perfectly rabid at our suggestion that the admission of Kansas as a slaveholding State, may comprehend the ultimate issue of union or disunion.  Consulting that balance of power between the two sections, so essential to the security of the South in these latter days, we have said that the South have right to ask that Kansas shall be admitted into the Union as a Southern State. Now, mark the implacable wrath of out Seward negro-loving brethren. They say that: - “If a more insolently audacious proposition than this on the part of the oligarchy can be framed or suggested, it is one past our powers of conception. And if there is a lower deep of meanness, servility and poltroonery into which their Northern servitors can descend than to back such a proposition; that also is also fathomless for our penetration.” And they further say that, “if the people of the free States are capable of listening for an instant to the humiliating threat, they deserve the eternal brand of coward and slavery.”

    All this may be very fine as a violent outburst of abolition indignation; but it does not touch the merits of the question. The issue is, shall Kansas be admitted into the Union or be rejected, if her application is based upon a constitution recognizing the existence and providing for the protection of the Southern institution of slavery within her borders? We believe that the Southern squatters now hold the ascendancy in the Territory; that they will continue to hold it; that they will give shape to the ultimate institutions of Kansas, and that she will be admitted into the Union as a slaveholding State, notwithstanding this prevailing anti-slavery furore through out the North. With a view to the restoration of that equilibrium of power which they have heretofore held in the federal Senate, we have said that the South have the right to demand the concession of the Kansas to them, and that the good sense of the country will, in good time, appreciate the justice and sound policy of this concession.

    For this we are told that “the open audacity of the [Southern] oligarchy, and their Northern tools, is only equalled by their iniquity and violence.” But it so happens that instead of being the “tool” of the “oligarchy” we are opposed to any other oligarchy, and have never been the “tool” of any, whether a United States Bank oligarchy, a spoils administration oligarchy, or seditious sectional Seward oligarchy. Our platform has been, is, and will be, Constitution and the Union, against all conspiracies and all oligarchies. But we are no negro worshippers; nor do we believe that universal negro emancipation would usher in the millennium. We believe in the lights of revelation and the tests and proofs of history and experience. We believe that the blacks of the South are doing very well as they are; that emancipation would be ruinous to them and disastrous to the white race. We know that the whites of the South believe that their security from the bloody scenes of St. Domingo depends upon this institution of slavery; and we know that they will secede from the Union rather than consent to open the door to the abolitionists and hazards of a servile insurrection. Hence the vital importance of this Kansas Territory to the South. It is the issue to them of the positive safety or positive danger, while to the North, upon the subject of slavery, it is at best but a question of mock philanthropy and false pretences.

    We must adhere to the spirit of the original compact of the constitution, or this Union can not last. It was established only after certain concessions to the South were given- a three-fifths representation of their slaves in the federal enumeration for Congress, a continuation of the African slave trade to the year 1808, and a positive binding obligation for the return of fugitive slaves to their masters, being conspicuous among these concessions. From 1789  to 1812 the slavery question was quietly managed; for most of the Northern States were directly interested in slavery to later day. and in the African slave traffic down to the year of its constitutional expiration. Meantime questions of finance and foreign policy were predominant.  But in 1812, when the federalists of New England received their death blow in the success of the war policy of the repulican party, the former in the Hartford Convention, as a last expedient for political capital in the North, opened this Pandora’s Box of the slavery agitation, and scattered abroad those seeds of mischief, to the bitter fruits of which there seems to be no end.

    The first crop of these seeds of discord and confusion ripened into the Missouri agitation of 1819-20. And the compromise which was then agreed which was then agreed upon was not a constitutional one, but an extra-constitutional truce upon was the spoils of the Presidency.  Messers. Clay, Calhoun, Crawford and Jackson, four aspiring Southern candidates for Northern votes, were in the field. Hence the Missouri compromise—that temporary armistice which could not stand, because it was a violation of the constitution, and of no binding force to either party. A temporary peace, however, did follow, which was not materially disturbed until annexation of Texas, when upon the same false basis of a geographical line, another temporary pacification succeeded. With our vast acquisitions from Mexico, by the treaty of peace of 1848, the general issue assumed a most complex and threatening character, when there was another settlement in 1850, partly upon the old Missouri fallacy; but to a far greater extent upon the constitutional landmarks of State and popular sovereignty. In 1854 the desperate straits of an imbecile administration suggested the repeal of the remnant of the Missouri restrictions, and it was repealed. The Territories of Kansas and Nebraska were accordingly organized, leaving it to the people of each to determine their local institutions for themselves; and this brings us to the immediate question in hand.

     The test question is to be Kansas. The Territory is open to the people of both sections, with or without their slaves, at least until the authorized people shall have finally settled that matter. Squatters from both sections, some with their slaves, are going in, and not a few without slaves, who are in favor of recognizing the institution. The anti-slavery societies have boasted, and menaced all sorts of terrible things against the slaveholders who may venture there. The slave holders have acted accordingly. There have been in the Territory of late some unlawful proceedings, the natural consequences of a local government packed by a free soil administration to advance the interests of free soil land speculators and the anti-slavery cause. But we still believe that the South have a legitimate majority in the Territory, that they will make it good, make Kansas a slave state, and that this being done, they have the unquestionable right to demand the admission of Kansas as a slave state into the Union.

    The administration, through its favorite free soil Governor, Reeder, may continue to play into the hands of his land speculators and our Northern anti-slavery emigration companies; but the people of Missouri, Arkansas, and other Southern States appreciate their danger and the vital importance of saving Kansas from the grasp of the abolitionists. Looking to the necessity, at this crisis of the slavery agitation-the permanent necessity of a positive balance of power in the South against Northern aggressions, we say that had Congress the power the South would have the right to demand the establishment of slavery in the Territory by act of Congress. But the question is with the settlers of the Territory, and if the South are most active, the victory is theirs, the State is theirs, and as such, if we aim to deal justly and honorably, it must be admitted into the Union. We cannot refuse it.

    But as we understand it, it is the fixed policy of the Northern anti-slavery league, including Seward, his followers, and his organs, to reject the application of Kansas if she asks for admission with a State constitution in favor of Southern slavery. Are there not two sides to this question? Viewed in any light, it is the policy of the South—the vital policy of self-preservation—to resist any further additions to the preponderance which the North now possesses in the Senate at Washington. Consulting this policy, then, we repeat that this Kansas question may become the test of union or disunion. Meantime, our Northern vagabond intermeddlers, fanatics and scheming agitators, in connection with this Pierce administration, are responsible for what has occurred in Kansas, and for the ultimate results of this ugly and ominous territorial imbroglio. The people of the South will look out for their own safety and future security; it is for North to say whether there shall be union or disunion. 

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