Consequences of further Agitation.
After the adjournment of Congress the Union will be agitated with a fierce conflict. Assault and defense, crimination and retort, will involve the country in a war of opinion which has probably had no parallel. The opposing principles of fanaticism will co-operate in this disgraceful strife. These positive and negative forces will be united to destroy the Union. We have, however, no doubt that the love of the Union will prove too strong for the combined influence of its enemies. The power of popular opinion will quench the torch that fanaticism would apply to the Temple of Liberty. For ourselves, we shall stand for the Union and the Constitution. We believe that "the people of the United States," who formed the Constitution, can alone abrogate it.
In the South the approaching contest will be very violent. The Union party is numerically the stronger; but the secession party contains many able and uncompromising men. The political conflicts of the South are always of the most desperate character; none of those great reciprocal interest which exist elsewhere are implicated. It is a war of opinion unrestrained by interest. It cannot be adjusted unit the last combatant is cut down. The extremists of the South openly advocate disunion. The more moderate propose non-intercourse with the Northern States––non-consumption of its manufacturers––the non-employment of its ships––the withdrawal of Southern patronage from the literary, scientific, and philanthropic institutions of the North. They think the Southern people should no longer visit its watering places and cities. Even the Southern advocates of union advise the encouragement of Southern manufactures––the construction of Southern railroads––the employment of Southern shipping. These are three grades of opinion in the South. We are convinced that the love of Union, the appreciation of its practical advantages, will triumph over the insane designs of Disunionists.
Considerable excitement evidently exists in the North. The fugitive slave law is denounced in public meetings; a stampede of fugitive slaves is reported in Pittsburg; indications of violence occur in New York upon the first enforcement of this fugitive law. Besides this, there seems a disposition to be dissatisfied with the legislation in regard to California. The people of that State have decided against slavery. Nature seems to have imposed her irrepealable veto upon its admission. The moderate men of the South are endeavoring to reconcile the more violent to the joint decree; yet it is insisted that the still further conformation of Congressional restriction is necessary, an omen murmur because a proviso, thus proven to be useless, has not been imposed. Besides these special subjects of complaint, there is the usual amount of inflammatory denunciation, by Southern ultraists, of Northern motives, and the reciprocal abuse of Southern character by Northern fanatics.
Notwithstanding these appalling elements of a coming tempest, we hope the patriotism and good sense of the people will prevent mischief. We trust that the ship will ride out the storm without parting a strand of her cables. Without departing from the impartiality of our position, we may be allowed to reason with those who have a very deep stake in the results of this contest––an interest which may be injured, whilst the Federal Government and the Union remain unscathed. We address those whose interests we have advocated most faithfully; they must feel that we have no impertinent or selfish motive in appealing to them. We assure the merchants and mechanics of the North that they have been seriously implicated in this whirlpool that is absorbing the most vital interests of the nation. Much of this strife is at the expense of the work-bench and the counter; it must result in diminishing the demand for the products of American industry. The South has been stimulated to engage in manufactures, to open an intercourse with foreign parts, even to practice self-denial. The South has a magazine from which she can draw the means of an independent sustenance. She possesses all the climatic and physical resources to feed, clothe, and employ her whole population. Heretofore she has relied exclusively upon the production of the profitable staples, leaving to the less favored States of the North, in a spirit of sisterly affection, to compensate by enterprise or energy for the disadvantages of soil or climate. The South produces the great staple which holds the world in check. Without the cotton of the South, wheels stop, spindles rust, and staying operatives will parade the cities of the world, demanding employment or plunder. If the South ceases to export this and other staples, she will manufacture enough for her own consumption, and she will attract the surviving labor of Europe. Supported by the abundant productions of her fertile soil, the reciprocal interests of industry will spring up around her, and instead of that equitable and harmonious division of employment which has resulted in the happiness and prosperity of all, we shall have non-intercourse, non-consumption, and a jealous determination upon the part of the South, to create everything essential to independent existence, and to deny herself any article of convenience and comfort, rather than to resort to those whom the concurrent fanaticism of the North and South denominates her enemies.
Such must be the result of the laboring millions of the North. We call upon them all––those for whom we have striven so long and so faithfully––mechanics, artisans, farmers, merchants, men upon whose independent and intelligence action all practical freedom depends,––we call upon them to come to the rescue of their country and their interest. Do they ask for the proof that this strife has injured, that its continuation will destroy, those interests? Look at the loss of the River and Harbor bill, laden with the salvation of life and property. Look at the loss of the tariff, postponed and defeated for the want of temperate and intelligence consideration. Look at the private applications for encouragement of American industry or talent thrown contemptuously aside without consideration, when the very pillars of the Constitution were shaking in the storm.
Working men! reading men! reflecting men! patriots! think of these things; and when you cast your ballots at the coming elections, remember that "bread" is inscribed upon one side, and that "blood" maybe probably inscribed upon the other.
"Consequences of further Agitation," Washington (DC) Daily Republic, October 2, 1850, p. 3