New York Herald, "The Approaching Conclusion of the Kansas Comedy," January 27, 1858

    Source citation
    "The Approaching Conclusion of the Kansas Comedy," New York Herald, January 27, 1858, p. 4: 2-3.
    Newspaper: Publication
    New York Herald
    Newspaper: Headline
    The Approaching Conclusion of the Kansas Comedy
    Newspaper: Page(s)
    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Zak Rosenberg, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    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 Approaching Conclusion of the Kansas Comedy.

    We have had our apprehensions that the Kansas drama might possibly terminate in a fearful tragedy, involving pro-slavery and no slavery border ruffians, inside and outside of Kansas in a general row. But all such fears we now fling to the winds.

    As the Washington Union declared some three months ago we may now confidently assert that "the dead point of danger is passed." The infantry, artillery and dragoons which have been required for three long years in Kansas to enforce the doctrine of "popular sovereignty," may now be started off in pursuit of Brigham Young and the "popular sovereignty" saints of Utah, so soon as there is grass on the plains for the horses and cattle. In spite of all the border ruffians, all the Presidential disorganizers, all the sectional tinkers of the nigger question, from Lecompton to Chicago, and from New York to New Orleans, this Kansas imbroglio has substantially worked out its own solution. The result has exceeded our happiest anticipations, for it comes before us in the shape of a compromise the most beautiful in the world. Look at it.

    The Southern fire-eaters have threatened to break down the administration, to break up the democratic party, and to blow up the Union, if Kansas should not be admitted as a slave State. The Northern free dirt agitators have threatened the same terrible evils unless Kansas shall be admitted as a free State. And such was the drift of the Kansas-Nebraska bill that both sections had a right to Kansas. So, then, the case has worked itself out to a charm; for, under the Lecompton constitution Kansas will be admitted as a slave State and as a free State, "with slavery" and "without slavery." The Lecompton constitution makes it slave State, and the Lecompton schedule makes it a free State; for the Legislature, State officers and Congressmen elected under the schedule are all of the free State party. Human wisdom could never have invented a better compromise than this, the Providential result of a budget of blunders and cross purposes of border ruffians and demagogues.

    We regard it as an idle rumor that Mr. John Calhoun will have made up a new book of election returns on his way to Washington; for great as are the resources of Kickapoo, Oxford, and the Delaware Crossing, we suppose they were fairly exhausted before he left Lecompton. We presume, therefore, that Congress will accept the vote of the 21st December as the legitimate ratification of the constitution "with slavery," and the free State Legislature as the regular organization of the State "without slavery." Could anything be fairer than this to the North or the South? We think not. All that the South have contended for is the important "abstraction" of slavery. Southern abstractions are all that the South have ever demanded. And here they have their abstraction in its full South Carolina proportions in the Kansas constitution "with slavery." On the other hand, the North has never cared for abstractions, so that it has secured the substance. And here the substance is secured to the North in the complete organization of Kansas, under the auspices of John Calhoun himself, as a free State. Let General Jim Lane hang up his fiddle, and let Greeley wipe his eyes, blow his nose, and smile upon the world once more.

    Why should the republican leaders hesitate to clinch the bargain. Will not the mere abstraction of slavery in the Lecompton constitution give them a little capital to work upon to prove the iniquity of Douglas, and the perfidy of the democracy in the repeal of the Missouri Compromise? To be sure it will. On the contrary, will not the rejection of the Lecompton constitution lead to the adoption of a free State constitution under the auspices of the administration? Undoubtedly. Where, then, will be the anti-slavery clamor against the administration? Gone. In this view we are rather inclined to think that the republicans will let the Lecompton document slip through both Houses as quietly as possible. As for the Northern democracy, having found out the quality of Mr. Buchanan, they will fully comprehend the expediency of sticking to him and to the text of the law. he has no favors to ask and no treacheries to fear; and the consequences of this or that defection cannot react upon him; for he is done with all such things as Cincinnati Conventions and Baltimore platforms.

    Best of all, the tenacity and sagacity of the President in this matter are at length fully vindicated. It is the end that crowns all. Mr. Walker, Mr. Douglas and Governor Wise may now, perhaps, be able to discover that they abandoned the ship too soon; and that while they are floundering among the breakers, the vessel which they supposed to be sinking, has passed over them, and is rounding to tin the harbor, with the steady old pilot at the wheel. The graveyard of Governors Reeder, Shannon, Geary, Stanton, and Walker is likely to prove, also, the cemetery of over hasty Kansas Presidential candidates, such as Douglas and Wise. We say nothing of the "Lord Protector" Calhoun; for he seems to be equal to all emergencies, and as difficult to keep under the hatches as Walker of Nicaragua or Billy Bowlegs. As for Atchison and Stringfellow, Col. Titus and Judge Cato, their qualifications as Southern territorial leaders are utterly eclipsed by the great achievements of John Calhoun. Who but he could have made Kansas a slave State and a free State by the same process?

    Let us rejoice-North and South, East and West, let us rejoice. The Kansas drama approaches its denouement; and it is not a dark and dismal tragedy, but a comedy as light and sparkling as "The School for Scandal," Master Joseph Surface and all. A free State with a slave State constitution may be a new thing under the sun, but it is just the thing for Kansas, as the legal solution of "popular sovereignty." Let the law take its course, and let Mr. Douglas and Governor Wise prepare for the philosophical retirement of Captain Tyler.

    How to Cite This Page: "New York Herald, "The Approaching Conclusion of the Kansas Comedy," January 27, 1858," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,