Who are the Slave Agitators?
The Aledo Record don't like the way the Argus is conducted, and it devotes nearly two columns of its last number to a discussion of the eternal negro question, and fault-finding with the Argus. The Record is one of that class of newspapers which will agitate the negro question and keep up a discussion which has already divided and, perhaps, forever broken up the union. It belongs to a class that, for years, has kept up this agitation and contributed all it could to alienate the people of one portion of the union from the other. These northern slavery agitators have continually insisted that they were not the agitators — it was the slaveholders, they said, who were continually bringing this subject before the nation. Year after year the national union men sought to banish this slavery question from the halls of congress, and year after year these abolition agitators, through their petitions and their demagogue representatives, have consumed nearly the whole time of congress, using every effort to exasperate the people of the south and drive them out of the union. Mr. Hale, Mr. Sumner, Mr. Giddings, Mr. Lovejoy, and others of their clan, have frequently presented memorials to congress praying for the dissolution of the union; and when rebuked by loyal senators, they have answered that it was the right of every American citizen to petition congress for any object, even to the overthrow of the government!
When the national members of congress, in 1854, sought to quiet this slavery agitation and preserve the peace and harmony of all sections of the union by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, leaving the whole subject directly to the people of the states or territories, to manage in their own way, these agitators issued a manifesto, on Sunday, from Washington, stirring up the people of the north to renewed strife, and organized their aid societies for the open and avowed purpose of forcing people into the territories to interfere with and control the question. They were not content to leave the natural emigration to manage their own affairs, but organized societies whose only object was to control the domestic institutions of other territories. This aroused a counter movement on the part of those who wished to extend slavery, and unnatural emigration, extraordinary excitement, strife and crime were the consequence — increasing still further the ill-feeling which already existed between the north and the south.
The abolition agitators have always excused themselves by falsely asserting that they were not agitation the slavery question — it was the south, they falsely asserted, that was always forcing the subject on the nation.
Will they tell us — will the Record tell us — who is agitation the subject now? Who seeks every day, to keep the slavery subject before the people? The southern members of congress are not there — they have retired, and yet the agitation continues! If anybody ever believed the assertions of northern abolitionists, that they were not the agitators, there is no excuse now for indulging in such a belief. The south has retired from congress, and still the agitation is kept up, and every obstacle thrown in the way of a union of the north for the propose of putting down the rebellion and restoring the union. The Sumners, the Lovejoys, Chandlers, Wades, Wilsons, Hales and that class of men, keep up the agitation in congress, while Greeley, Cheever, Garrison, Phillips, the Little and Big Tribunes and their satellites, keep up the agitation out of congress. These anti-slavery agitators are secessionists, disunionists, and they want no settlement of this war unless slavery is destroyed. To fight the war for the preservation of the union, and leave slavery to take care of itself, as the president is trying to do, and as all true union men will sustain him in doing, is not what they want.
Greeley, who is one of the leaders of this class, in his Big Tribune, on the 9th of November, 1860, said:
"If the cotton states shall become satisfied that they can do better out of the union than in it, we insist on letting them go in peace. — The right to secede may be a revolutionary one, but it exists, nevertheless. * * We must ever resist the right of any state to remain in the union and nullify or defy the laws thereof. To withdraw from the union is quite another matter; and whenever a considerable section of our union shall deliberately resolve to go out, we shall resist all coercive measure designed to keep it in. We hope never to live in a republic whereof one section is pinned to another by bayonets."
Here this leading republican agitator, the man who helped elect Mr. Lincoln, admitted the right of secession, and opposed the use of force to put down a treasonable rebellion.
On the 26th of Nov. 1860, he said:
"If the cotton states unitedly and earnestly wish to withdraw peacefully from the union, we think they should and would be allowed to do so. Any attempt to compel them by force to remain would be contrary to the principles enunciated in the immortal Declaration of Independence, contrary to the fundamental ideas on which human liberty is based."
And on the 17th of December, 1860, he said:
"If it (the Declaration of Independence) justified the secession from the British empire of three millions of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of five millions of southrons from the union in 1861."
If there is any difference between Greeley's secessionism, and disunionism, as then expressed, and that of Jeff. Davis, we are unable to perceive it. He was then opposed to "coercive measure," wanted the south to "go in peace," and most earnestly contended that "any attempt to compel them by force to remain would be contrary to the principles enunciated in the immortal Declaration of Independence." That was the doctrine of the Big Tribune, in 1860, the acknowledged leader among the republican slavery agitators.
It is true, however, that Greeley and his followers have since changed. They now go for coercive measures of the most severe sort, and war of the most terrible kind — not to preserve the union, but to destroy slavery. — to preserve the union as our fathers made it and leave the institutions of every state as they were before the war began, is not what they want. They are for the union only to wreak their vengeance upon and destroy the slaveholders. If that cannot be done they want no union, but will fall back upon their secession doctrines of 1860, as quoted from Greeley.
The question is simply whether we shall sustain the president in his efforts to preserve the union, or go with the slavery agitators to destroy slavery and "let the union slide." We shall sustain Mr. Lincoln in the effort he is making, and do what we can to extinguish and exterminate the race of slavery agitators.
Some fault has been found with us by the Register, of this city, and by the Aledo Record, for not drawing a plainer distinction between abolition republicans and those who are not abolitionists.
We believe that a large proportion of those who voted for Mr. Lincoln — perhaps a majority of those calling themselves republicans, are really opposed to this slavery agitation; but they have followed the lead of aspiring demagogues, who have used the question to obtain power and place. Had they believed what they have been told by democrats, for the years, that the consequences of this agitation, and the accession to power of a purely section party, would cause secession and civil war, and perhaps a destruction of the union, they would not have voted for Mr. Lincoln. Thousands of men who thus unconsciously aided to bring about this result, regret, bitterly regret their action, and they will now do what they can to put down these slavery agitators, and save the union. But we fear their regrets come too late, — they certainly do unless the abolition and emancipation tribe are silenced.
We believe that if Judge Douglas, and a democratic congress had been elected, Judge Douglas would be alive to-day, and no secession, no civil war, would have occurred.
We do not class all the men who voted for Mr. Lincoln, or all the men who call themselves republicans, with the abolition agitators. There are thousands among them who hate an abolitionist as bad as we do. But they cannot deny that the agitation of the slavery question was the cause of all our troubles, and that, if the people of each state and territory had been content to mind their own business, and leave the people of every other state and territory to mind theirs, no war would have occurred, no lives would have been sacrificed, and we should now be in the enjoyment of peace, and happiness and unexampled prosperity.
We cannot close this article without quoting a short extract from the powerful and eloquent speech of the new senator from Kentucky, Hon. Garrett Davis, recently delivered in the United States senate. He was alluding to the continued agitation of the slavery subject, by certain abolition republicans, and to recent emancipation lectures delivered by Greeley and others in the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington, against which the secretary, Prof. Joseph Henry, in vain protested. He said:
"The utterances they have dared to put forth in this city have desecrated the Smithsonian Institute. If the secessionists had dared to give expression to the same utterances, they would have been sent, and properly sent, to Fort Lafayette or Fort Warren. What will you do with these monsters? I will tell you what I would do with them, and with that horrible monster, Greeley, as they come sneaking around here, like hungry wolves after the destruction of slavery. If I had the power I would take them and the worst seceshers and hang them in pairs. I wish to God I could inflict that punishment upon them. It would be just. They are the disunionists. They are the madmen who are willing to call up all the passions o the infernal regions, and all the horrors of a servile war. This they would carry out over the disjointed fragments of a broken constitution to obtain their unholy purposes, and I am too fearful the honorable senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Sumner) sympathizes with them."