On Daniel Webster’s “mathematics of compromise”

When Webster was debating over the proposed Compromise of 1850, on the Senate floor he ridiculed the radical abolitionists, critical of their simplistic thought.  They thought that morality did not allow for compromise, as if everything could be decided by what was “right” or  “wrong”, as in mathematics, where in deed there was that clear distinction.   He believed in compromise as a superior way of arriving at truth.  Garrison, angry with Webster’s support of this Compromise, which included the hated Fugitive Slave Law, wrote a response.  The “compromisers”, he claimed, might argue about whether 2 + 2 equaled 4, or some might claim it equaled 6; they would debate, come to a compromise, shake hands, and announce that 2+ 2 equals 5!  Garrison:  “So much for the mathematics of compromise.!”