The passage of the Homestead Bill in the House of Representatives at Washington, by an overwhelming majority—by a vote of 115 to 66—is an ominous event in the history of the country. That bill is based upon the unjust, loose, radical, revolutionary principle of Agrarianism, and is, therefore, at war with the political and social rights of the people, and absolutely infamous in its character. It is the bantling of the great Democratic demagogue from Tennessee, who disgraces a seat in the United States Senate. It was begotten by the notorious Andy Johnson, and adopted by the united Republicans and Democrats of the North. Every Republican in the House voted for it, and every Northern Democrat in the House voted for it, too, except Montgomery, of Pennsylvania; and there was, also, one Southern Democrat who voted for it, Craig, of Missouri, while many of them dodged, including several members from Virginia. Never was there a more odious and iniquitous bill passed by any deliberative body on earth.

It provides that any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States, or who shall have filed his intention to become such, shall be entitled to enter free of cost, one hundred and sixty acres of the public lands upon which the said person may have filed a pre-emption claim, or which may, at the time the application is made, be subject to preemption, at one dollar and a quarter or less per acre, or eighty acres at two dollars and a half per acre. No certificate is to be given or patent to be issued until after the expiration of five years from the date of said entry; and, on payment of ten dollars, the rights secured by the actual settlers shall issue to the heirs and devisees. The lands thus acquired are in no case to become liable to the satisfaction of debts contracted prior to the issuing of the patent.

Thus, under the provisions of this Homestead Bill, the public lands, comprising over one thousand millions of acres, and belonging equally to all the States, are given away to all manner of persons, and for the exclusive benefit of the Northern States. They are given not only to native born citizens, but to all persons who may file a declaration of their intention to become citizens at a future day—thus embracing in the terms and benefits of the grant the hundreds of thousands of foreigners, who annually land upon our shores. And thus goes the vast and magnificent public domain, to the strengthening and enriching of the Northern States at the expense of the Southern, Virginia included.

Do not all intelligent Southern men now see the justice and wisdom of the policy of an equal distribution of the public lands among all the States, for which the Whigs of the Union have so long and so vainly contended, and which the Democrats have opposed with such fatal pertinacity? For long years we have admonished the people of Virginia and the South that, unless they accepted the policy of equal distribution, these lands would all be squandered, in the course of a few years, for the benefit of the Northwestern States. What, a short while ago, was only prophecy, is now a startling reality. These lands, in which all the States, Southern as well as Northern, Virginia as well as Illinois, have an equal interest, are now granted, free of cost, to all the vagabonds of all nations and all climes, and for the express purpose of building up the North at the expense of the South! Virginia, though loaded down with taxes, and “groaning” under the weight of her burden, is thus robbed and swindled of her just rights in the public domain, in consequence of the scruples of Southern Democrats and the rapacity of Northern Democrats and Republicans combined.—If Virginia could obtain her rightful share of those public lands, her public debt, now amounting to thirty-five or forty millions of dollars, would be soon wiped out, and all her projected improvements completed, without the necessity of levying a cent of tax upon her citizens. But, great is Democracy; and Democracy forbids her taking her share of the public lands, because Democracy thinks equal distribution among all the States unconstitutional! And yet, this same Democracy considers unequal, partial, one-sided distribution altogether constitutional—altogether right—altogether wise—altogether proper—altogether patriotic. These lands may all be squandered upon the Northern States, for the purpose of building up, strengthening, and enriching our Northern enemies, and Democracy issues no protest and utters no complaint. But, when it is proposed, in a spirit of strict justice and impartiality, to allow Virginia and the other Southern States to participate in the advantages and benefits of this “common fund” of all the States, Democracy flies into a furious passion, and swears that such a proposition is unconstitutional and wrong, and cannot for a moment be tolerated.

And yet, these are the men—these scrupulous, conscientious Democrats—who profess such ardent devotion to the rights and interests of the South, and who would forthwith dissolve the Union, because the Yankees are in the habit of stealing from us a few negroes. And these same men stand silently by and let the public lands, worth millions and hundreds of millions of dollars, and half of the whole amount belonging to the South, by a title as clear and unquestionable as that by which Southern men hold their negroes—let all these lands, we say, be taken from them by the North, and given away, for the purpose of enhancing the prosperity and power of the Northern section of the Union. While the Southern Democracy stand silently by, and permit this great outrage to be perpetrated upon Virginia and the South, the Northern Democracy are actively aiding and abetting in it—all of them, except one, having voted for the Homestead Bill, which was voted for, also, by one Southern Democrat. Now, it makes no difference whether the North steals our negroes, or appropriates to its own exclusive use our lands—the outrage is as great in the one instance as the other. Indeed, it is much greater in the case of the public lands, for the reason that these lands are worth infinitely more money than all the negroes that have been, or ever will be stolen. And yet, these Southern Democrats are ready to break up the Union, and plunge the country into civil war, on account of the North stealing a negro, and are yet as submissive as spaniels in the presence of its grand larceny of the public lands, which belong in common to all the States, the Southern as well as the Northern. And thus, are these political reprobates always straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel.

In conclusion, we invoke our readers to reflect upon the character of this Homestead Bill, and its inevitable effect upon the rights and interests of Virginia and the South. We, also, invite them to remember that all the Northern Democrats in Congress, but one, voted for it; and that the Southern Democracy are justly responsible for it, on account of having opposed an equal distribution of the public lands, among all the States, as recommended and advocated by the Whig party.