The Whig Party in the South

By Arthur Charles Cole | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI.
THE UNION MOVEMENT, 1850-1851.

In order to understand the precise nature of the contests that took place in the southern states within the twelvemonth following the completion of the work of Congress, it is necessary to go back and to note especially the attitude of the lay members of the Whig party there toward the problem of securing an adjustment of the slavery question. Popular feeling within the party at the beginning of 1850 in few cases kept pace with the ultraism which developed in their delegation after the assembling of Congress. The sentiment of southern Whigs was all but unanimous in favor of a continuance of the Union and the course of dissatisfied politicians found little support.1 Many, while protesting against the application of the Wilmot proviso, were unwilling to see the bonds of the Union severed in case it passed Congress. "Patriotism", said the Mobile Advertiser," should prompt the North to abstain from urging the proviso, and, if the proviso be adopted, patriotism should prompt the South to cling still to the Union."2 Every sign of a disposition in the

____________________
1
The Washington (N. C.) North State Whig, Feb. 6, 1850, condemned the policy of "Mr. Clingman and his coadjutors in disunion". The North Carolina Argus complained: "We are heartily sick of this everlasting twaddle about the South--the South--that word of talismanic charm with southern demagogues. . . . . In the name of dignity and self-respect, let us forbear against further gasconading." National Intelligencer, March 11, 1850.
2
Jan. 9; cf. Nashville Republican Banner, Feb. 19, 1850; New Orleans Bee, May 31, 1849.

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