They Ask Us to Wait
Louisville Daily Courier, February 1, 1861
In the midst of the political convulsions now disturbing every section of the country, the end of which none can foresee, and before the momentous events of which all are powerless, we are told to be calm, asked to wait, begged to be still.
And by whom and to what end?
There was a time when the advice now thrust upon us might have been appropriately given to others.
The North should have been urged to stay their hands when they resisted the admission of Missouri as a Slave State; when they sought to assail slavery through Congress, which body they flooded with antislavery petitions; when they attempted to apply the Wilmot Proviso to all the Territories of the United States; when they smuggled California into the Union as a Free State; when they deprived Texas of a portion of her territory; when they prohibited the slave trade in the District of Columbia; when they were trying to abolish slavery in the Federal Capital; when they were sending armed emissaries of regularly incorporated Emigrant Aid Societies to drive Southern men with their property from Kansas; when they were distributing HELPER's infamous book broadcast over the land; when they were canonizing JOHN BROWN, the robber and murderer; when they were indorsing the doctrines of the Philadelphia platform at the polls in 1856; when they were inaugurating in the Federal Government the doctrine of the irrepressible conflict in the election of ABRAHAM LINCOLN to the Presidency; when they were tendering men and money for the subjugation of the South; and when they were proclaiming, as with one voice, that there could be no more compromises with slave-holders—at any time in the last forty years it would have been proper and timely to have urged the people of the Free States to pause, to delay, to be still.
But there has been no pause in the movements of the enemies of slavery. Their policy has ever been aggressive and progressive. They have waged an irrepressible conflict against the peculiar institution. They have assailed it by every means possible, in every form of attack conceivable, and at all times and under all circumstances.
With the increase of power their policy became more dangerous; the injuries they inflicted and the wrongs they did became more serious; and finally a disruption of the Confederacy followed inevitably aggressions which seemed to leave no other means of redress and no other hope for peace and security.
And now, the Abolitionists of the North and the Submissionists of the South beseech Kentucky and the Border Slave States to keep cool, to wait, to delay action.
The Cotton and Gulf States are gone. They have been driven out of the Union by a course of conduct which left them no alternative but separation and independence, or submission and degradation. They have gone never to return; and they will soon be followed by others. The aggressors and their sympathizers, seeing that the Border States are becoming aroused and will soon go with their sister Slave States, ask us to wait—to try LINCOLN.
Do they promise us any new guarantees? Do they even intimate a willingness to compromise by yielding nothing themselves and giving us a portion only of what the Courts have decided that we are entitled to? Do they give us any assurance that they will not carry out to the letter in its strictest spirit the policy of the Chicago platform?
No! They promise us nothing. They will concede nothing. They will not yield one iota. They ask us of the Border Slave States to cut loose from the other Slave States and remain with those who denounce slavery as a relic of barbarism, and slave owners as equally criminal with thieves and murderers, and to do this without even a promise of better treatment hereafter than we have received heretofore.
They ask us to wait, hoping to persuade the loyal people of the Border Slave States to adopt a course that will divide those whom God and nature made one—the Slave States. They will promise nothing—the Free States—but they will exhaust every expedient to stay the action of Kentucky and Virginia. They will hold out expectations they never intend shall be realized; they will promise to negotiate after the inauguration; they will alternately coax and threaten; they will do anything except abandon their sectional and unconstitutional doctrines; and these they intend shall be, in the recent language of CASSIUS M. CLAY, "through peace or blood," "eternally triumphant!"
We warn the people of Kentucky to beware of the arts of political management—to shut their ears and close their eyes to the specious seeming and plausible deceptions of the LINCOLN and the Submission leaders.
Words are cheap; and they are quite as often used to conceal ideas as to express them. Actions are less liable to be misunderstood. If the people of the North intend to do us justice—if they intend that the Slave States may live with them on terms of equality and in peaceif they wish to restore the Union they have destroyed, let them at once—not after awhile—accept at least the CRITTENDEN amendments, which concede far too much, but which the Border Slave States would probably agree to, and then we may begin to hope that such a reaction has taken place in Northern sentiment as to make it possible for the Free and the Slave States to live together in peace. Until they do this, or give some practical manifestation of returning reason, it is treason in any Southern man to listen to their insulting demands or become a party to the attempts to delude and ensnare the Border Slave States.