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Copyright, 1876, by J. B. Ford & Company.
TAYLOR AND FILLMORE'S ADMINISTRATION.
The question of slavery had appeared under different phases. For twelve years after the passage of the Mis1820. souri Compromise, the subject had not been agitated in Congress, but now attention was drawn to it by the presentation of memorials, praying that body to abolish the slave-trade and slavery in the District of Columbia. Meantime others, who looked upon the system as an evil to be remedied at all hazards, sent through the mail to 1882. the South publications, addressed to the slave-owners themselves, and designed to influence them in favor of emancipation; but there were others who sent papers that contained engravings by no means calculated to make the slave contented with his lot. The fear was great lest the latter might become the occasion of insurrections and blood-shed. President Jackson recommended 1885. to Congress to pass a law prohibiting the use of the mail for the circulation of "incendiary publications." But the bill to that effect did not become a law. The excitement was great, both North and South: in the former sometimes developing itself in violent measures against the abolitionists; in the latter, some broke into the post-offices and destroyed the obnoxious papers, and others raised the cry of disunion, while, so embittered, had the feeling become 1886. in Congress, that for a time memorials on the subject would not be received.
Now the slavery agitation was a legacy left by the previous administration-a question which overshadowed all others, and almost exclusively engaged the attention 1846 of Congress and the nation. Three years before the Wilmot Proviso had initiated the discussion, which was fast acquiring a tone of bitterness hitherto unknown. The contents of the newspapers showed that the question had penetrated into every nook and corner of the land-in social circles and in the retirement of the fireside-all were alive to the importance of the subject at issue; the