UTC
The National Era
Unsigned Article
Washington, D.C.: 1 February 1855

THE PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON AND THE FREE STATES.

  A special correspondent of the New York Tribune charges the people of Washington with being servile to the South and Southern politicians; and, as an illustration, he says:

  "A friend went into six of the principal bookstores of the city, the other day, without finding a single copy of several popular Northern books, which he wished to purchase. A Boston publisher told me he found it very difficult to persuade a Washington bookseller to keep his publications on sale. A print-seller, too, refused to expose 'Sumner's portrait for sale, because, he said, 'Sumner tramples on the Constitution.'

  "A majority of the members of Congress are Northern men; yet, if they wish a Northern book, they are troubled to find it in Washington. So of a hundred other things. The reading-rooms at the hotels scarcely afford a Northern paper of any good reputation at home. If the free States were mere provinces of the Union, they would not be more insignificant in the estimation of the people of this District than they have been for many years. I leave it to others to assign the reason and the remedy."

  The People of Washington, as they are generally Southern in origin, may be expected to be Southern in sympathies. As to servility, we see no evidence that they are more culpable than the citizens of Philadelphia or New York. Of the bookselling craft, it so happens that three of the foremost are from New England, and the one who at first rejected Sumner's picture, is an emigrant from New Hampshire. It is hardly fair to visit the sins of Northern services upon this community.

  But, the representation of the correspondent is a little exaggerated. Uncle Tom's Cabin was sold here freely at two or three bookstores, as is Ida May. Sumner's and Seward's speeches may be had at our principal bookstores; and if there be not a great supply of such books, it is just because there is no demand. "A majority of the members of Congress," it is true, are Northern men, but they are not generally distinguished, in Washington, by Northern tastes. If the demand for Northern books or papers was very decided, the demand would soon bring the supply. A large proportion of this Northern majority patronizes such papers as the Union, Intelligencer, Sentinel, and American Organ, all essentially Southern, and hostile to the Anti-Slavery sentiment, which, it is rumored, prevails at the North, while, from timidity or utter indifference, they "turn the cold shoulder" to the Era, the only paper here which represents that sentiment. While this is the case, we do not think that Northern members will suffer very deeply from the absence of Northern books in our Washington stores. It will be time enough to blame the people of the District for servility to the South, when the representatives from the North and West generally shall be blameless in that matter. "If the Free States," says the correspondent, "were mere provinces of the Union, they would not be more insignificant in the estimation of the People of the District, than they have been for many years. I leave it to others to assign the reason and the remedy." They lie on the surface. In every contest involving the demands of the Salve Power, the good People here have seen the Northern majority tamely submitting to the Southern minority, and are accustomed therefore to regard the former as inferior. So much for the reason. Let the People of the North and West reform themselves, and then their representatives. So much for the remedy.