Newspaper Title

Arkansas State Gazette and Democrat

Publication Date


Publication Place

Little Rock, Arkansas

Event Topic

Nebraska Bill (Jan-May 1854)

Political Party



slave state


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It is predicted that this report and bill will re-open the slavery agitation, both North and South.

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Full Text Transcription

Last week we published the remarks of this distinguished gentleman, in connnection with those of Mr. Walker, of Wisconsin, in the U. S. Senate, on the bill which proposed makingthe title of Lieut. General, for Gen. Scott.

The speeches of both gentlement were patriotic, as well as frank, fearless and able exposes, of true democratic doctrine. There was, in them, none of that humbug -- none of that clap-trap to catch the popular ear -- which too frequently characterise speeches, even in the Senate. But they eloquently and boldly defended the right, in the face of an overwhelming majority.

This week we publish another article from Senator Douglass -- his report, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Territories, of a bill for the establishment of a Territorial government for Nebraska -- which is equally able, and bold, and patriotic, with his speech on the Lieut. General's bill; -- and, we may hope, for the good of the country, that the policy of this report, may find more favor before Congress, than did the argument of Senator Douglass on the former occasion.

With the report of the committee, a bill for the Territorial government of Nebraska, is also reported to the Senate, embracing the principles of the compromise of 1850, as follows:

1. That all questions pertaining to slavery in the Territories, and in the new States to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of the people residing therein, by the appropriate representatives, to be chosen by them for that purpose.

2. That "all cases involving title to slaves," an "questions of personal freedom," are referred to the adjudication of the local tribunals, with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.

3. That the provision of the constitution of the United States, in respect to fugitives from service, is to be carried into faithful execution in all "the organized Territories" the same as in the States. The substitute for the bill, which your committee have prepared, and which is commended to the favorable action of the Senate, proposes to carry these propositions and principles into practical operation, in the precise language of the compromise measures of 1850.

It is predicted that this report and bill will re-open the slavery agitation, both North and South; the free-soilers, on the one side, insisting on the anti-slavery provisos and the extreme southern men, on the other side, insisting upon the right to emigrate with their property to the Territory, and be protected in the use of it.

That the free-soilers of the North will oppose the bill may be expected; but if there be any opposition in the South, we are unaware of it. Before the passage of the compromise acts, some of the features of this bill, ought, and probably would have been opposed at the South; but the people of the South are patriotic and law-abiding. They acquiesce in the laws call the compromise acts. They are in favor of the "laws being faithfully executed." They are anxious that agitation should cease. They wish to experience that harmony, and strengthening of the bonds of the Union, which the friends of the compromise promised, and which all good and patriotic men are so anxious to see consummated.

We predict for Mr. Douglass's bill the almost unanimous support of Southern men -- irrespective of party. So do we predict for it, the support of the good and the patriotic, of all parties at the North. There, it will be opposed to the free-soilers, and other factious disturbers of the peace and harmony of the Union, at the North; but their opposition will, we hope, be weak and unavailable.

The bill leaves the settlement of slavery in the Territories and the new States, to be formed, to the people. Who else but the people shall this question be left to? The people of the Territory are alone interested. If they, as citizens of an organized Territory of the U. S.., see fit to establish or authorise the existence of the institution of African slavery, they clearly have the right to do so. If, on the other hand, they prohibit slavery, it is their own concern, and no one can question their right to prohibit it.

"All cases involving the titles to slaves," and "questions of personal freedom," are to be settled by the Judiciary; commencing with the local tribunals, with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States at Washington. This is proper. It is time that the agitating discussions of the slavery question, should be removed from Congress, where it is a most fruitful source of evil, making feuds and heart-burnings among those who should dwell together as brothers; delaying the legitimate business of the nation; at times even endangering the integrity of the constitution itself. The settlement of these questions properly belongs to the judiciary. There is no probability of their being taken, where they could be more justly or impartially settled. The Supreme Court of the United States is the fountain of legal light and intelligence, and we believe it is, and will remain, one of the purest and most incorruptable bodies on earth.

That the provisions of the constitution of the United States, in respect to fugitives from service, should be carried into execution in the Territories, is all that the South can ask in that behalf. In that respect, the right to legislate on the subject of slavery, is given to Congress by the constitution; and the duty of Congress to enact, even before the passage of the compromise, the fugitive slave law, can be denied by no man, with a moderate share of intelligence and patriotism. The reasonableness and justness of this proposition, commend it to the good and the patriotic of all parties, both North and South.

The Nebraska bill, embodies the principles of the compromise, so triumphantly endorsed by the people, in the election of Gen. Pierce to the Presidency. It is confidently expected that both factions of the New York democracy will favor it, as well as the influence of the Fillmore wing of the whig party. So in the South, the democrats will support the measure, and the whigs, always in favor of the compromise, would certainly be very inconsistent in opposing it. So, also, the whole influence of the administration, in all parts of the Union, and the whole of the compromise portion of the whig party, will certainly be in favor of the measure. We do not think it possible for it to be defeated.

In the language of the Memphis Appeal, "We do not look for agitation, save among a few besotted partisans. The bill of Senator Douglass stands upon a foundation which their most relentless hate and their most determined opposition cannot jostle one iota from its firm position. It stands upon the reiterated approval, and the fixed and immovable confidence of the whole people, from one extreme of the Union to the other."

The abolitionists and slavery agitators, will, of course, oppose it; but, so far as we have an opportunity of observing, they form but a small portion of the present Congress. Their noise, like the hissing of a toothless viper, will be harmless; and tend only to call attention to their own corruption and hideousness.

Those who fear the opening of the controversies of 1848-'50, we opine, have not thoroughly examined the subject. We think, on looking at the facts, as they exist, their fears will prove to have been groundless.

We think it peculiarly fortunate for the country, too, that this bill comes before the Senate with such an advocate as Mr. Douglass. Always a citizen of a free State, and always the true and unwavering friend of the South, his support of the bill, will carry with it more moral force, than if it had been introduced and supported by a southern man. Besides, his commanding talents, and position before the country, give great weight to any question which is brought forward or advocated by him.

If the Nebraska bill become a law in its present shape, and we have reason to believe that it will, the country will owe a deep and an additional debt of gratitude to Mr. Douglass, and those who so nobly co-operate with him, and aid in its consummation.

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Entered by Lloyd Benson. Not Proofed




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Event Location


Senator Douglas -- the Nebraska Bill.

It is predicted that this report and bill will re-open the slavery agitation, both North and South.