Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The Entire Writings of Lincoln by Abraham Lincoln

Part 16 out of 36

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 3.0 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

of the union. But suppose we shall take up some man, and put him
upon one end or the other of the ticket, who declares himself against
us in regard to the prevention of the spread of slavery, who turns up
his nose and says he is tired of hearing anything more about it, who
is more against us than against the enemy, what will be the issue?
Why, he will get no slave States, after all,--he has tried that
already until being beat is the rule for him. If we nominate him
upon that ground, he will not carry a slave State; and not only so,
but that portion of our men who are high-strung upon the principle we
really fight for will not go for him, and he won't get a single
electoral vote anywhere, except, perhaps, in the State of Maryland.
There is no use in saying to us that we are stubborn and obstinate
because we won't do some such thing as this. We cannot do it. We
cannot get our men to vote it. I speak by the card, that we cannot
give the State of Illinois in such case by fifty thousand. We would
be flatter down than the "Negro Democracy" themselves have the heart
to wish to see us.

After saying this much let me say a little on the other side. There
are plenty of men in the slave States that are altogether good enough
for me to be either President or Vice-President, provided they will
profess their sympathy with our purpose, and will place themselves on
the ground that our men, upon principle, can vote for them. There
are scores of them, good men in their character for intelligence and
talent and integrity. If such a one will place himself upon the
right ground, I am for his occupying one place upon the next
Republican or opposition ticket. I will heartily go for him. But
unless he does so place himself, I think it a matter of perfect
nonsense to attempt to bring about a union upon any other basis; that
if a union be made, the elements will scatter so that there can be no
success for such a ticket, nor anything like success. The good old
maxims of the Bible axe applicable, and truly applicable, to human
affairs, and in this, as in other things, we may say here that he who
is not for us is against us; he who gathereth not with us,
scattereth. I should be glad to have some of the many good and able
and noble men of the South to place themselves where we can confer
upon them the high honor of an election upon one or the other end of
our ticket. It would do my soul good to do that thing. It would
enable us to teach them that, inasmuch as we select one of their own
number to carry out our principles, we are free from the charge that
we mean more than we say.

But, my friends, I have detained you much longer than I expected to
do. I believe I may do myself the compliment to say that you have
stayed and heard me with great patience, for which I return you my
most sincere thanks.

ON PROTECTIVE TARIFFS

TO EDWARD WALLACE.

CLINTON, October 11, 1859

Dr. EDWARD WALLACE.

MY DEAR SIR:--I am here just now attending court. Yesterday, before
I left Springfield, your brother, Dr. William S. Wallace, showed me a
letter of yours, in which you kindly mention my name, inquiring for
my tariff views, and suggest the propriety of my writing a letter
upon the subject. I was an old Henry-Clay-Tariff Whig. In old times
I made more speeches on that subject than any other.

I have not since changed my views. I believe yet, if we could have a
moderate, carefully adjusted protective tariff, so far acquiesced in
as not to be a perpetual subject of political strife, squabbles
changes, and uncertainties, it would be better for us. Still it is
my opinion that just now the revival of that question will not
advance the cause itself, or the man who revives it.

I have not thought much on the subject recently, but my general
impression is that the necessity for a protective tariff will ere
long force its old opponents to take it up; and then its old friends
can join in and establish it on a more firm and durable basis. We,
the Old Whigs, have been entirely beaten out on the tariff question,
and we shall not be able to re-establish the policy until the absence
of it shall have demonstrated the necessity for it in the minds of
men heretofore opposed to it. With this view, I should prefer to not
now write a public letter on the subject. I therefore wish this to
be considered confidential. I shall be very glad to receive a
letter from you.

Yours truly,
A. LINCOLN.

ON MORTGAGES

TO W. DUNGY.

SPRINGFIELD, November, 2, 1859.

WM. DUNGY, Esq.

DEAR SIR:--Yours of October 27 is received. When a mortgage is given
to secure two notes, and one of the notes is sold and assigned, if
the mortgaged premises are only sufficient to pay one note, the one
assigned will take it all. Also, an execution from a judgment on the
assigned note may take it all; it being the same thing in substance.
There is redemption on execution sales from the United States Court
just as from any other court.

You did not mention the name of the plaintiff or defendant in the
suit, and so I can tell nothing about it as to sales, bids, etc.
Write again.

Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

FRAGMENT OF SPEECH AT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS,
DECEMBER, 1859.

............. But you Democrats are for the Union; and you greatly
fear the success of the Republicans would destroy the Union. Why? Do
the Republicans declare against the Union? Nothing like it. Your own
statement of it is that if the Black Republicans elect a President,
you "won't stand it." You will break up the Union. If we shall
constitutionally elect a President, it will be our duty to see that
you submit. Old John Brown has been executed for treason against a
State. We cannot object, even though he agreed with us in thinking
slavery wrong. That cannot excuse violence, bloodshed and treason.
It could avail him nothing that he might think himself right. So, if
we constitutionally elect a President, and therefore you undertake to
destroy the Union, it will be our duty to deal with you as old John
Brown has been dealt with. We shall try to do our duty. We hope and
believe that in no section will a majority so act as to render such
extreme measures necessary.

TO G. W. DOLE, G. S. HUBBARD, AND W. H. BROWN.

SPRINGFIELD, Dec. 14, 1859

MESSRS. DOLE, HUBBARD & BROWN.

GENT.:--Your favor of the 12th is at hand, and it gives me pleasure
to be able to answer it. It is not my intention to take part in any
of the rivalries for the gubernatorial nomination; but the fear of
being misunderstood upon that subject ought not to deter me from
doing justice to Mr. Judd, and preventing a wrong being done to him
by the use of nay name in connection with alleged wrongs to me.

In answer to your first question, as to whether Mr. Judd was guilty
of any unfairness to me at the time of Senator Trumbull's election, I
answer unhesitatingly in the negative; Mr. Judd owed no political
allegiance to any party whose candidate I was. He was in the Senate,
holding over, having been elected by a Democratic Constituency. He
never was in any caucus of the friends who sought to make me U. S.
Senator, never gave me any promises or pledges to support me, and
subsequent events have greatly tended to prove the wisdom,
politically, of Mr. Judd's course. The election of Judge Trumbull
strongly tended to sustain and preserve the position of that lion of
the Democrats who condemned the repeal of the Missouri Compromise,
and left them in a position of joining with us in forming the
Republican party, as was done at the Bloomington convention in 1856.

During the canvass of 1858 for the senatorship my belief was, and
still is, that I had no more sincere and faithful friend than Mr.
Judd--certainly none whom I trusted more. His position as chairman
of the State Central Committee led to my greater intercourse with
him, and to my giving him a larger share of my confidence, than with
or to almost any other friend; and I have never suspected that that
confidence was, to any degree, misplaced.

My relations with Mr. Judo since the organization of the Republican
party, in, our State, in 1856, and especially since the adjournment
of the Legislature in Feb., 1857, have been so very intimate that I
deem it an impossibility that he could have been dealing
treacherously with me. He has also, at all times, appeared equally
true and faithful to the party. In his position as chairman of the
committee, I believe he did all that any man could have done. The
best of us are liable to commit errors, which become apparent by
subsequent developments; but I do not know of a single error, even,
committed by Mr. Judd, since he and I have acted together
politically.

I, had occasionally heard these insinuations against Mr. Judd, before
the receipt of your letter; and in no instance have I hesitated to
pronounce them wholly unjust, to the full extent of my knowledge and
belief. I have been, and still am, very anxious to take no part
between the many friends, all good and true, who are mentioned as
candidates for a Republican gubernatorial nomination; but I can not
feel that my own honor is quite clear if I remain silent when I hear
any one of them assailed about matters of which I believe I know more
than his assailants.

I take pleasure in adding that, of all the avowed friends I had in
the canvass of last year, I do not suspect any of having acted
treacherously to me, or to our cause; and that there is not one of
them in whose honesty, honor, and integrity I, today, have greater
confidence than I have in those of Mr. Judd.

I dislike to appear before the public in this matter; but you are at
liberty to make such use of this letter as you may think justice
requires.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TO G. M. PARSONS AND OTHERS.

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, December 19, 1859.

MESSRS. G. M. PARSONS AND OTHERS, CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, ETC.

GENTLEMEN:--Your letter of the 7th instant, accompanied by a similar
one from the governor-elect, the Republican State officers, and the
Republican members of the State Board of Equalization of Ohio, both
requesting of me, for publication in permanent form, copies of the
political debates between Senator Douglas and myself last year, has
been received. With my grateful acknowledgments to both you and them
for the very flattering terms in which the request is communicated, I
transmit you the copies. The copies I send you are as reported and
printed by the respective friends of Senator Douglas and myself, at
the time--that is, his by his friends, and mine by mine. It would be
an unwarrantable liberty for us to change a word or a letter in his,
and the changes I have made in mine, you perceive, are verbal only,
and very few in number. I wish the reprint to be precisely as the
copies I send, without any comment whatever.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

TO J. W. FELL,

SPRINGFIELD, December 20, 1859.

J. W. FELL, Esq.

MY DEAR SIR:--Herewith is a little sketch, as you requested. There
is not much of it, for the reason, I suppose, that there is not much
of me. If anything be made out of it, I wish it to be modest, and
not to go beyond the material. If it were thought necessary to
incorporate anything from any of my speeches I suppose there would be
no objection. Of course it must not appear to have been written by
myself.

Yours very truly,
A. LINCOLN

-----------------------

I was born February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents
were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families--second
families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth
year, was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now reside
in Adams, and others in Macon County, Illinois. My paternal
grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham County,
Virginia, to Kentucky about 1781 or 1782, where a year or two later
he was killed by the Indians, not in battle, but by stealth, when he
was laboring to open a farm in the forest. His ancestors, who were
Quakers, went to Virginia from Berks County, Pennsylvania. An effort
to identify them with the New England family of the same name ended
in nothing more definite than a similarity of Christian names in both
families, such as Enoch, Levi, Mordecai, Solomon, Abraham, and the
like.

My father, at the death of his father, was but six years of age, and
he grew up literally without education. He removed from Kentucky to
what is now Spencer County, Indiana, in my eighth year. We reached
our new home about the time that State came into the Union. It was a
wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the
woods. There I grew up. There were some schools, so called, but no
qualification was ever required of a teacher beyond "readin',
writin', and cipherin"' to the Rule of Three. If a straggler
supposed to understand Latin happened to sojourn in the neighborhood
he was looked upon as a wizard. There was absolutely nothing to
excite ambition for education. Of course, when I came of age I did
not know much. Still, somehow, I could read, write, and cipher to
the Rule of Three, but that was all. I have not been to school
since. The little advance I now have upon this store of education I
have picked up from time to time under the pressure of necessity.

I was raised to farm work, which I continued till I was twenty-two.
At twenty-one I came to Illinois, Macon County. Then I got to New
Salem, at that time in Sangamon, now in Menard County, where I
remained a year as a sort of clerk in a store. Then came the Black
Hawk war; and I was elected a captain of volunteers, a success which
gave me more pleasure than any I have had since. I went the
campaign, was elected, ran for the Legislature the same year (1832),
and was beaten--the only time I ever have been beaten by the people.
The next and three succeeding biennial elections I was elected to the
Legislature. I was not a candidate afterward. During this
legislative period I had studied law, and removed to Springfield to
practice it. In 1846 I was once elected to the lower House of
Congress. Was not a candidate for re-election. From 1849 to 1854,
both inclusive, practiced law more assiduously than ever before.
Always a Whig in politics; and generally on the Whig electoral
tickets, making active canvasses. I was losing interest in politics
when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again. What I
have done since then is pretty well known.

If any personal description of me is thought desirable, it may be
said I am, in height, six feet four inches, nearly; lean in flesh,
weighing on an average one hundred and eighty pounds; dark
complexion, with coarse black hair and gray eyes. No other marks or
brands recollected.

Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

ON NOMINATION TO THE NATIONAL TICKET

To N. B. JUDD.

SPRINGFIELD, FEBRUARY 9, 1859

HON. N. B. JUDD.

DEAR Sir:--I am not in a position where it would hurt much for me to
not be nominated on the national ticket; but I am where it would hurt
some for me to not get the Illinois delegates. What I expected when
I wrote the letter to Messrs. Dole and others is now happening.
Your discomfited assailants are most bitter against me; and they
will, for revenge upon me, lay to the Bates egg in the South, and to
the Seward egg in the North, and go far toward squeezing me out in
the middle with nothing. Can you help me a little in this matter in
your end of the vineyard. I mean this to be private.

Yours as ever,

A. LINCOLN

1860

SPEECH AT THE COOPER INSTITUTE, NEW YORK
FEBRUARY 27, 1860

MR. PRESIDENT AND FELLOW-CITIZENS OF NEW YORK:--The facts with which
I shall deal this evening are mainly old and familiar; nor is there
anything new in the general use I shall make of them. If there shall
be any novelty, it will be in the mode of presenting the facts, and
the inferences and observations following that presentation.

In his speech last autumn at Columbus, Ohio, as reported in the New
York Times, Senator Douglas said:

"Our fathers, when they framed the Government under which we live,
understood this question just as well, and even better than we do
now."

I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this discourse.
I so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and an agreed starting-
point for a discussion between Republicans and that wing of the
Democracy headed by Senator Douglas. It simply leaves the inquiry:
What was the understanding those fathers had of the question
mentioned?

What is the frame of Government under which we live?

The answer must be--the Constitution of the United States. That
Constitution consists of the original, framed in 1787 (and under
which the present Government first went into operation), and twelve
subsequently framed amendments, the first ten of which were framed in
1789.

Who were our fathers that framed the Constitution? I suppose the
"thirty-nine" who signed the original instrument may be fairly called
our fathers who framed that part of the present Government. It is
almost exactly true to say they framed it, and it is altogether true
to say they fairly represented the opinion and sentiment of the whole
nation at that time.

Their names, being familiar to nearly all, and accessible to quite
all, need not now be repeated.

I take these "thirty-nine," for the present, as being our "fathers
who framed the Government under which we live."

What is the question which, according to the text, those fathers
understood "just as well, and even better than we do now"?

It is this: Does the proper division of local from Federal authority,
or anything in the Constitution, forbid our Federal Government to
control as to slavery in our Federal Territories?

Upon this Senator Douglas holds the affirmative, and Republicans the
negative. This affirmation and denial form an issue, and this issue-
-this question is precisely what the text declares our fathers
understood "better than we."

Let us now inquire whether the "thirty-nine," or any of them, acted
upon this question; and if they did, how they acted upon it -how they
expressed that better understanding.

In 1784, three years before the Constitution--the United States then
owning the Northwestern Territory, and no other--the Congress of the
Confederation had before them the question of prohibiting slavery in
that Territory; and four of the "thirty nine" who afterward framed
the Constitution were in that Congress and voted on that question.
Of these, Roger Sherman, Thomas Mifflin, and Hugh Williamson voted
for the prohibition, thus showing that, in their understanding, no
line dividing local from Federal authority, nor anything else,
properly forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in
Federal territory. The other of the four--James McHenry voted
against the prohibition, showing that, for some cause, he thought it
improper to vote for it.

In 1787, still before the Constitution, but while the convention was
in session framing it, and while the Northwestern Territory still was
the only Territory owned by the United States, the same question of
prohibiting slavery in the Territory again came before the Congress
of the Confederation; and two more of the "thirty-nine" who afterward
signed the Constitution were in that Congress, and voted on the
question. They were William Blount and William Few; and they both
voted for the prohibition thus showing that, in their understanding,
no line dividing local from Federal authority, nor anything else,
properly forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in
Federal territory. This time the prohibition became a law, being part
of what is now well known as the Ordinance of '87.

The question of Federal control of slavery in the Territories seems
not to have been directly before the convention which framed the
original Constitution; and hence it is not recorded that the
"thirty-nine," or any of them, while engaged on that instrument,
expressed any opinion on that precise question.

In 1789, by the first Congress which sat under the Constitution, an
act was passed to enforce the Ordinance of '87, including the
prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory. The bill for
this act was reported by one of the "thirty-nine," Thomas
Fitzsimmons, then a member of the House of Representatives from
Pennsylvania. It went through all its stages without a word of
opposition, and finally passed both branches without yeas and nays,
which is equivalent to a unanimous passage. In this Congress there
were sixteen of the thirty-nine fathers who framed the original
Constitution. They were John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman, Wm. S.
Johnnson, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, Thos. Fitzsimmons, William
Few, Abraham Baldwin, Rufus King, William Paterson, George Claimer,
Richard Bassett, George Read, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carroll, James
Madison.

This shows that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from
Federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, properly forbade
Congress to prohibit slavery in the Federal territory; else both
their fidelity to correct principles and their oath to support the
Constitution would have constrained them to oppose the prohibition.

Again: George Washington, another of the "thirty nine," was then
President of the United States, and, as such, approved and signed the
bill; thus completing its validity as a law, and thus showing that,
in his understanding, no line dividing local from Federal authority,
nor anything in the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to
control as to slavery in Federal territory.

No great while after the adoption of the original Constitution, North
Carolina ceded to the Federal Government the country now constituting
the State of Tennessee; and, a few years later, Georgia ceded that
which now constitutes the States of Mississippi and Alabama. In both
deeds of cession it was made a condition by the ceding States that
the Federal Government should not prohibit slavery in the ceded
country. Besides this, slavery was then actually in the ceded
country. Under these circumstances, Congress, on taking charge of
these countries, did not absolutely prohibit slavery within them.
But they did interfere with it--take control of it--even there, to a
certain extent. In 1798, Congress organized the Territory of
Mississippi: In the act of organization they prohibited the bringing
of slaves into the Territory from any place without the United
States, by fine and giving freedom to slaves so brought. This act
passed both branches of Congress without yeas and nays. In that
Congress were three of the "thirty-nine" who framed the original
Constitution. They were John Langdon, George Read, and Abraham
Baldwin. They all, probably, voted for it. Certainly they would have
placed their opposition to it upon record, if, in their
understanding, any line dividing local from Federal authority, or
anything in the Constitution, properly forbade the Federal Government
to control as to slavery in Federal territory.

In 1803, the Federal Government purchased the Louisiana country. Our
former territorial acquisitions came from certain of our own States;
but this Louisiana country was acquired from a foreign nation. In
1804, Congress gave a territorial organization to that part of it
which now constitutes the State of Lousiana. New Orleans, lying
within that part, was an old and comparatively large city. There
were other considerable towns and settlements, and slavery was
extensively and thoroughly intermingled with the people. Congress
did not, in the Territorial Act, prohibit slavery; but they did
interfere with it take control of it--in a more marked and extensive
way than they did in the case of Mississippi. The substance of the
provision therein made in relation to slaves was:

First. That no slave should be imported into the Territory from
foreign parts.

Second. That no slave should be carried into it who had been imported
into the United States since the first day of May, 1798.

Third. That no slave should be carried into it except by the owner,
and for his own use as a settler; the penalty in all the cases being
a fine upon the violator of the law, and freedom to the slave.

This act also was passed without yeas and nays. In the Congress which
passed it there were two of the "thirty-nine." They were Abraham
Baldwin and Jonathan Dayton. As stated in the case of Mississippi,
it is probable they both voted for it. They would not have allowed it
to pass without recording their opposition to it, if, in their
understanding, it violated either the line properly dividing local
from Federal authority, or any provision of the Constitution.

In 1819-20 came and passed the Missouri question. Many votes were
taken, by yeas and nays, in both branches of Congress, upon the
various phases of the general question. Two of the "thirty-nine"-
-Rufus King and Charles Pinckney were members of that Congress. Mr.
King steadily voted for slavery prohibition and against all
compromises, while Mr. Pinckney as steadily voted against slavery
prohibition, and against all compromises. By this, Mr. King showed
that, in his understanding, no line dividing local from Federal
authority, nor anything in the Constitution, was violated by Congress
prohibiting slavery in Federal territory; while Mr. Pinckney, by his
vote, showed that in his understanding there was some sufficient
reason for opposing such prohibition in that case.

The cases I have mentioned are the only acts of the "thirty-nine," or
of any of them, upon the direct issue, which I have been able to
discover.

To enumerate the persons who thus acted, as being four in 1784, two
in 1787, seventeen in 1789, three in 1798, two in 1804, and two in
1819-20--there would be thirty of them. But this would be counting,
John Langdon, Roger Sherman, William Few, Rufus King, and George
Read, each twice, and Abraham Baldwin three times. The true number
of those of the "thirty-nine" whom I have shown to have acted upon
the question which, by the text, they understood better than we, is
twenty-three, leaving sixteen not shown to have acted upon it in any
way.

Here, then, we have twenty-three out of our thirty-nine fathers "who
framed the Government under which we live," who have, upon their
official responsibility and their corporal oaths, acted upon the very
question which the text affirms they "understood just as well, and
even better than we do now"; and twenty-one of them--a clear majority
of the whole "thirty-nine"--so acting upon it as to make them guilty
of gross political impropriety and wilful perjury, if, in their
understanding, any proper division between local and Federal.
authority, or anything in the Constitution they had made themselves,
and sworn to support, forbade the Federal Government to control as to
slavery in the Federal Territories. Thus the twenty-one acted; and,
as actions speak louder than words, so actions under such
responsibilities speak still louder.

Two of the twenty-three voted against Congressional prohibition of
slavery in the Federal Territories, in the instances in which they
acted upon the question. But for what reasons they so voted is not
known. They may have done so because they thought a proper division
of local from Federal authority, or some provision or principle of
the Constitution, stood in the way; or they may, without any such
question, have voted against the prohibition on what appeared to them
to be sufficient grounds of expediency. No one who has sworn to
support the Constitution can conscientiously vote for what he
understands to be an unconstitutional measure, however expedient he
may think it; but one may and ought to vote against a measure which
he deems constitutional, if, at the same time, he deems it
inexpedient. It therefore would be unsafe to set down even the two
who voted against the prohibition as having done so because, in their
understanding, any proper division of local from Federal authority,
or anything in the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to
control as to slavery in Federal territory.

The remaining sixteen of the "thirty-nine," so far as I have
discovered, have left no record of their understanding upon the
direct question of Federal control on slavery in the Federal
Territories. But there is much reason to believe that their
understanding upon that question would not have appeared different
from that of their twenty-three compeers, had it been manifested at
all.

For the purpose of adhering rigidly to the text, I have purposely
omitted whatever understanding may have been manifested by any
person, however distinguished, other than the thirty-nine fathers who
framed the original Constitution; and, for the same reason, I have
also omitted whatever understanding may have been manifested by any
of the "thirty tine" even on any other phase of the general question
of slavery. If we should look into their acts and declarations on
those other phases, as the foreign slave trade, and the morality and
policy of slavery generally, it would appear to us that on the direct
question of Federal control of slavery in Federal Territories, the
sixteen, if they had acted at all, would probably have acted just as
the twenty-three did. Among that sixteen were several of the most
noted anti-slavery men of those times--as Dr. Franklin, Alexander
Hamilton, and Gouverneur Morris while there was not one now known to
have been otherwise, unless it may be John Rutledge, of South
Carolina.

The sum of the whole is, that of our thirty-nine fathers who framed
the original Constitution, twenty-one--a clear majority of the
whole--certainly understood that no proper division of local from
Federal authority, nor any part of the Constitution, forbade the
Federal Government to control slavery in the Federal Territories;
whilst all the rest probably had the same understanding. Such,
unquestionably, was the understanding of our fathers who framed the
original Constitution; and the text affirms that they understood the
question "better than we."

But, so far, I have been considering the understanding of the
question manifested by the framers of the original Constitution. In
and by the original instrument, a mode was provided for amending it;
and, as I have already stated, the present frame of "the Government
under which we live" consists of that original, and twelve amendatory
articles framed and adopted since. Those who now insist that Federal
control of slavery in Federal Territories violates the Constitution,
point us to the provisions which they suppose it thus violates; and,
as I understand, they all fix upon provisions in these amendatory
articles, and not in the original instrument. The Supreme Court, in
the Dred Scott case, plant themselves upon the fifth amendment, which
provides that no person shall be deprived of "life, liberty, or
property without due process of law"; while Senator Douglas and his
peculiar adherents plant themselves upon the tenth amendment,
providing that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the
Constitution" "are reserved to the States respectively, or to the
people."

Now, it so happens that these amendments were framed by the first
Congress which sat under the Constitution--the identical Congress
which passed the act already mentioned, enforcing the prohibition of
slavery in the Northwestern Territory. Not only was it the same
Congress, but they were the identical same individual men who, at the
same session, and at the same time within the session, had under
consideration, and in progress toward maturity, these Constitutional
amendments, and this act prohibiting slavery in all the territory the
nation then owned. The Constitutional amendments were introduced
before and passed after the act enforcing the Ordinance of '87; so
that, during the whole pendency of the act to enforce the Ordinance,
the Constitutional amendments were also pending.

The seventy-six members of that Congress, including sixteen of the
framers of the original Constitution, as before stated, were
pre-eminently our fathers who framed that part of "the Government
under which we live," which is now claimed as forbidding the Federal
Government to control slavery in the Federal Territories.

Is it not a little presumptuous in any one at this day to affirm that
the two things which that Congress deliberately framed, and carried
to maturity at the same time, are absolutely inconsistent with each
other? And does not such affirmation become impudently absurd when
coupled with the other affirmation from the same mouth, that those
who did the two things alleged to be inconsistent understood whether
they really were inconsistent better than we--better than he who
affirms that they are inconsistent?

It is surely safe to assume that the thirty-nine framers of the
original Constitution, and the seventy-six members of the Congress
which framed the amendments thereto, taken together, do certainly
include those who may be fairly called "our fathers who framed the
Government under which we live." And, so assuming, I defy any man to
show that any one of them ever, in his whole life, declared that, in
his understanding, any proper division of local from Federal
authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal
Government to control as to slavery in the Federal Territories. I go
a step further. I defy any one to show that any living man in the
world ever did, prior to the beginning of the present century (and I
might almost say prior to the beginning of the last half of the
present century), declare that, in his understanding, any proper
division of local from Federal authority, or any part of the
Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery
in the Federal Territories. To those who now so declare, I give not
only "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live," but
with them all other living men within the century in which it was
framed, among whom to search, and they shall not be able to find the
evidence of a single man agreeing with them.

Now and here let me guard a little against being misunderstood. I do
not mean to say we are bound to follow implicitly in whatever our
fathers did. To do so would be to discard all the lights of current
experience to reject all progress, all improvement. What I do say is
that, if we would supplant the opinions and policy of our fathers in
any case, we should do so upon evidence so conclusive, and argument
so clear, that even their great authority, fairly considered and
weighed, cannot stand; and most surely not in a case whereof we
ourselves declare they understood the question better than we.

If any man at this day sincerely believes that proper division of
local from Federal authority, or any part of the Constitution,
forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the
Federal Territories, he is right to say so, and to enforce his
position by all truthful evidence and fair argument which he can.
But he has no right to mislead others who have less access to
history, and less leisure to study it, into the false belief that
"our fathers who framed the Government under which we live" were of
the same opinion thus substituting falsehood and deception for
truthful evidence and fair argument. If any man at this day
sincerely believes "our fathers, who framed the Government under
which we live," used and applied principles, in other cases, which
ought to have led them to understand that a proper division of local
from Federal authority, or some part of the Constitution, forbids the
Federal Government to control as to slavery in the Federal
Territories, he is right to say so. But he should, at the same time,
brave the responsibility of declaring that, in his opinion, he
understands their principles better than they did themselves; and
especially should he not shirk that responsibility by asserting that
they "understood the question just as well, and even better than we
do now."

But enough! Let all who believe that "our fathers, who framed the
Government under which we live, understood this question just as
well, and even better than we do now," speak as they spoke, and act
as they acted upon it. This is all Republicans ask--all Republicans
desire--in relation to slavery. As those fathers marked it, so let
it be again marked, as an evil not to be extended, but to be
tolerated and protected only because of, and so far as, its actual
presence among us makes that toleration and protection a necessity.
Let all the guaranties those fathers gave it be not grudgingly, but
fully and fairly maintained. For this Republicans contend, and with
this, so far as I know or believe, they will be content.

And now, if they would listen--as I suppose they will not--I would
address a few words to the Southern people.

I would say to them: You consider yourselves a reasonable and a just
people; and I consider that in the general qualities of reason and
justice you are not inferior to any other people. Still, when you
speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us as reptiles,
or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing
to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to "Black Republicans."
In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an
unconditional condemnation of "Black Republicanism" as the first
thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be
an indispensable prerequisite license, so to speak among you, to be
admitted or permitted to speak at all: Now; can you, or not, be
prevailed upon to pause, and to consider whether this is quite just
to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and
specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or
justify.

You say we are sectional. We deny it. That makes an issue; and the
burden of proof is upon you. You produce your proof; and what is it?
Why, that our party has no existence in your section--gets no votes
in your section. The fact is substantially true; but does it prove
the issue? If it does, then in case we should, without change of
principle, begin to get votes in your section, we should thereby
cease to be sectional. You cannot escape this conclusion; and yet,
are you willing to abide by it? If you are, you will probably soon
find that we have ceased to be sectional, for we shall get votes in
your section this very year. You will then begin to discover, as the
truth plainly is, that your proof, does not touch the issue. The fact
that we get no votes in your section is a fact of your making, and
not of ours. And if there be fault in that fact, that fault is
primarily yours, and remains so until you show that we repel you by,
some wrong principle or practice. If we do repel you by any wrong
principle or practice, the fault is ours; but this brings you to
where you ought to have started to a discussion of the right or wrong
of our principle. If our principle, put in practice, would wrong
your section for the benefit of ours, or for any other object, then
our principle, and we with it, are sectional, and are justly opposed
and denounced as such. Meet us, then, on the question of whether our
principle, put in practice, would wrong your section; and so meet us
as if it were possible that something may be said on our side. Do
you accept the challenge? No! Then you really believe that the
principle which "our fathers who framed the Government under which we
live" thought so clearly right as to adopt it, and indorse it again
and again, upon their official oaths, is in fact so clearly wrong as
to demand your condemnation without a moment's consideration.

Some of you delight to flaunt in our faces the warning against
sectional parties given by Washington in his Farewell Address. Less
than eight years before Washington gave that warning, he had, as
President of the United States, approved and signed an act of
Congress enforcing the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern
Territory, which act embodied the policy of the Government upon that
subject up to, and at, the very moment he penned that warning; and
about one year after he penned it, he wrote La Fayette that he
considered that prohibition a wise measure, expressing in the same
connection his hope that we should at some time have a confederacy of
free States.

Bearing this in mind, and seeing that sectionalism has since arisen
upon this same subject, is that warning a weapon in your hands
against us, or in our hands against you? Could Washington himself
speak, would he cast the blame of that sectionalism upon us, who
sustain his policy, or upon you, who repudiate it? We respect that
warning of Washington, and we commend it to you, together with his
example pointing to the right application of it.

But you say you are conservative--eminently conservative--while we
are revolutionary, destructive, or something, of the sort. What is
conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against a
new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy
on the point in controversy which was adopted by "our fathers who
framed the Government under which we live"; while you with one accord
reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy and insist upon
substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves as
to what that substitute shall be. You are divided on new
propositions and plans, but you are unanimous in rejecting and
denouncing the old policy of the fathers. Some of you are for
reviving the foreign slave trade; some for a Congressional slave code
for the Territories; some for Congress forbidding the Territories to
prohibit slavery within their limits; some for maintaining slavery in
the Territories through the judiciary; some for the "gur-reat
pur-rinciple" that "if one man would enslave another, no third man
should object," fantastically called "popular sovereignty"; but never
a man among you in favor of Federal prohibition of slavery in Federal
Territories, according to the practice of "our fathers who framed the
Government under which we live." Not one of all your various plans
can show a precedent or an advocate in the century within which our
Government originated. Consider, then, whether your claim of
conservatism for yourselves, and your charge of destructiveness
against us, are based on the most clear and stable foundations.

Again: You say we have made the slavery question more prominent than
it formerly was. We deny it. We admit that it is more prominent,
but we deny that we made it so. It was not we, but you, who
discarded the old policy of the fathers. We resisted and still
resist your innovation; and thence comes the greater prominence of
the question. Would you have that question reduced to its former
proportions? Go back to that old policy. What has been will be
again, under the same conditions. If you would have the peace of the
old times, readopt the precepts and policy of the old times.

You charge that we stir up insurrections among your slaves. We deny
it; and what is your proof'? Harper's Ferry! John Brown!! John
Brown was no Republican; and you have failed to implicate a single
Republican in his Harper's Ferry enterprise. If any member of our
party is guilty in that matter you know it or you do not know it. If
you do know it, you are inexcusable for not designating the man and
proving the fact. If you do not know it, you are inexcusable for
asserting it, and especially for persisting in the assertion after
you have tried and failed to make the proof. You need not be told
that persisting in a charge which one does not know to be true is
simply malicious slander.

Some of you admit that no Republican designedly aided or encouraged
the Harper's Ferry affair, but still insist that our doctrines and
declarations necessarily lead to such results. We do not believe it.
We know we hold to no doctrine, and make no declaration, which were
not held to and made by our fathers who framed the Government under
which we live" You never dealt fairly by us in relation to this
affair. When it occurred, some important State elections were near
at hand, and you were in evident glee with the belief that, by
charging the blame upon us, you could get an advantage of us in those
elections. The elections came, and your expectations were not quite
fulfilled. Every Republican man knew that, as to himself at least,
your charge was a slander, and he was not much inclined by it to cast
his vote in your favor. Republican doctrines and declarations are
accompanied with a continued protest against any interference
whatever with your slaves, or with you about your slaves. Surely,
this does not encourage them to revolt. True, we do, in common with
"our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live," declare
our belief that slavery is wrong; but the slaves do not hear us
declare even this. For any thing we say or do, the slaves would
scarcely know there is a Republican party. I believe they would not,
in fact, generally know it but for your misrepresentations of us in
their hearing. In your political contests among yourselves, each
faction charges the other with sympathy with Black Republicanism; and
then, to give point to the charge, defines Black Republicanism to
simply be insurrection, blood, and thunder among the slaves.

Slave insurrections are no more common now than they were before the
Republican party was organized. What induced the Southampton
insurrection, twenty-eight years ago, in which, at least, three times
as many lives were lost as at Harper's Ferry? You can scarcely
stretch your very elastic fancy to the conclusion that Southampton
was "got up by Black Republicanism." In the present state of things
in the United States, I do not think a general or even a very
extensive slave insurrection is possible. The indispensable concert
of action cannot be attained. The slaves have no means of rapid
communication; nor can incendiary freemen, black or white, supply it.
The explosive materials are everywhere in parcels; but there neither
are, nor can be supplied the indispensable connecting trains.

Much is said by Southern people about the affection of slaves for
their masters and mistresses; and a part of it, at least, is true. A
plot for an uprising could scarcely be devised and communicated to
twenty individuals before some one of them, to save the life of a
favorite master or mistress, would divulge it. This is the rule; and
the slave revolution in Hayti was not an exception to it, but a case
occurring under peculiar circumstances. The gunpowder plot of
British history, though not connected with slaves, was more in point.
In that case, only about twenty were admitted to the secret; and yet
one of them, in his anxiety to save a friend, betrayed the plot to
that friend, and, by consequence, averted the calamity. Occasional
poisonings from the kitchen, and open or stealthy assassinations in
the field, and local revolts, extending to a score or so, will
continue to occur as the natural results of slavery; but no general
insurrection of slaves, as I think, can happen in this country for a
long time. Whoever much fears or much hopes for such an event will
be alike disappointed.

In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, "It is
still in our power to direct the process of emancipation and
deportation peaceably, and in such slow degrees as that the evil will
wear off insensibly, and their places be, pari passu, filled up by
free white laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left to force itself
on, human nature must shudder at the prospect held up."

Mr. Jefferson did not mean to say, nor do I, that the power of
emancipation is in the Federal Government. He spoke of Virginia;
and, as to the power of emancipation, I speak of the slave holding
States only. The Federal Government, however, as we insist, has the
power of restraining the extension of the institution--the power to
insure that a slave insurrection shall never occur on any American
soil which is now free from slavery.

John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection.
It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in
which the slaves refused to participate. In fact, it was so absurd
that the slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it
could not succeed. That affair, in its philosophy, corresponds with
the many attempts related in history at the assassination of kings
and emperors. An enthusiast broods over the oppression of a people
till he fancies himself commissioned by Heaven to liberate them. He
ventures the attempt, which ends in little else than his own
execution. Orsini's attempt on Louis Napoleon and John Brown's
attempt at Harper's Ferry were, in their philosophy, precisely the
same. The eagerness to cast blame on old England in the one case,
and on New England in the other, does not disprove the sameness of
the two things.

And how much would it avail you, if you could, by the use of John
Brown, Helper's Book, and the like, break up the Republican
organization? Human action can be modified to some extent, but human
nature cannot be changed. There is a judgment and a feeling against
slavery in this nation, which cast at least a million and a half of
votes. You cannot destroy that judgment and feeling--that sentiment-
-by breaking up the political organization which rallies around it.
You can scarcely scatter and disperse an army which has been formed
into order in the face of your heaviest fire; but if you could, how
much would you gain by forcing the sentiment which created it out of
the peaceful channel of the ballot-box, into some other channel?
What would that other channel probably be? Would the number of John
Browns be lessened or enlarged by the operation?

But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a denial of
your constitutional rights.

That has a somewhat reckless sound; but it would be palliated, if not
fully justified, were we proposing, by the mere force of numbers, to
deprive you of some right plainly written down in the Constitution.
But we are proposing no such thing.

When you make these declarations, you have a specific and well-
understood allusion to an assumed constitutional right of yours to
take slaves into the Federal Territories, and to hold them there as
property. But no such right is specifically written in the
Constitution. That instrument is literally silent about any such
right. We, on the contrary, deny that such a right has any existence
in the Constitution, even by implication.

Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the
Government unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the
Constitution as you please on all points in dispute between you and
us. You will rule or ruin, in all events.

This, plainly stated, is your language. Perhaps you will say the
Supreme Court has decided the disputed constitutional question in
your favor. Not quite so. But, waiving the lawyer's distinction
between dictum and decision, the court have decided the question for
you in a sort of way. The court have substantially said it is your
constitutional right to take slaves into the Federal Territories, and
to hold them there as property. When I say, the decision was made in
a sort of way, I mean it was made in a divided court, by a bare
majority of the judges, and they not quite agreeing with one another
in the reasons for making it; that it is so made as that its avowed
supporters disagree with one another about its meaning, and that it
was mainly based upon a mistaken statement of fact--the statement in
the opinion that "the right of property in a slave is distinctly and
expressly affirmed in the Constitution."

An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of
property in a slave is not "distinctly and expressly affirmed" in it.
Bear in mind, the judges do not pledge their judicial opinion that
such right is impliedly affirmed in the Constitution; but they pledge
their veracity that it is "distinctly and expressly" affirmed there-
-"distinctly," that is, not mingled with anything else; "expressly,"
that is, in words meaning just that, without the aid of any
inference, and susceptible of no other meaning.

If they had only pledged their judicial opinion that such right is
affirmed in the instrument by implication, it would be open to others
to show that neither the word "slave" nor "slavery" is to be found in
the Constitution, nor the word "property" even, in any connection
with language alluding to the things slave or slavery; and that
wherever in that instrument the slave is alluded to, he is called a
"person"; and wherever his master's legal right in relation to him is
alluded to, it is spoken of as "service or labor which may be due,"
as a debt payable in service or labor. Also, it would be open to
show, by contemporaneous history, that this mode of alluding to
slaves and slavery, instead of speaking of them, was employed on
purpose to exclude from the Constitution the idea that there could be
property in man.

To show all this, is easy and certain.

When this obvious mistake of the judges shall be brought to their
notice, is it not reasonable to expect that they will withdraw the
mistaken statement, and reconsider the conclusion based upon it?

And then it is to be remembered that "our fathers; who framed the
Government under which we live",--the men who made the Constitution--
decided this same constitutional question in our favor, long ago;
decided it without division among themselves, when making the
decision, without division among themselves about the meaning of it
after it was made, and, so far as any evidence is left, without
basing it upon any mistaken statement of facts.

Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves
justified to break up this Government unless such a court decision as
yours is shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule
of political action? But you will not abide the election of a
Republican President! In that supposed event, you say, you will
destroy the Union;, and then, you say, the great crime of having
destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a
pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "stand and deliver,
or I shall kill you, and then you'll be a murderer!"

To be sure, what the robber demanded of me-my money was my own, and I
had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote
is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the
threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely
be distinguished in principle.

A few words now to Republicans: It is exceedingly desirable that all
parts of this great confederacy shall be at peace and in harmony one
with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it so. Even
though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill
temper. Even though the Southern people will not so much as listen
to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in
our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. Judging by all
they say and do, and by the subject and nature of their controversy
with us, let us determine, if we can, what will satisfy them.

Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally
surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present
complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned.
Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them
if, in the future, we have nothing to do with invasions and,
insurrections? We know it will not. We so know because we know we
never had anything to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet
this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the
denunciation.

The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must
not only let them alone, but we must, somehow, convince them that we
do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task.
We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of
our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and
speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone;
but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to
convince them is the fact that they have never detected a man of us
in any attempt to disturb them.

These natural and apparently adequate means all failing, what will
convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and
join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly--
done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated--we
must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas's new
sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all
declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in
presses, in pulpits; or in private. We must arrest and return their
fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our free
State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from
all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe
that all their troubles proceed from us.

I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way.
Most of them would probably say to us, "Let us alone, do nothing to
us, and say what you please about slavery." But we do let them alone
have never disturbed them--so that after all it is what we say which
dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us of doing, until
we cease saying.

I am also aware they have not as yet, in terms, demanded the
overthrow of our free State constitutions. Yet those constitutions
declare the wrong of slavery, with more solemn emphasis than do all
other sayings against it; and when all these other sayings shall have
been silenced, the overthrow of these constitutions will be demanded,
and nothing be left to resist the demand. It is nothing to the
contrary, that they do not demand the whole of this just now.
Demanding what they do, and for the reason they do, they can
voluntarily stop nowhere short of this consummation. Holding, as
they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they
cannot cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a legal
right and a social blessing.

Nor can we justifiably withhold this on any ground save our
conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words,
acts, laws, and constitutions against it are themselves wrong, and
should be silenced and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly
object to its nationality its universality; if it is wrong, they
cannot justly insist upon its extension--its enlargement. All they
ask we could readily grant if we thought slavery right; all we ask
they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their
thinking it right and our thinking it wrong is the precise fact upon
which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as they do,
they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being
right; but thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we
cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our
moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this? Wrong
as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it
is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual
presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it,
allow it to spread into the national Territories, and to overrun us
here in these free States? If our sense of duty forbids this, then
let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be
diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are
so industriously plied and belabored-contrivances such as groping for
some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the
search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead
man-such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all
true men do care--such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to
yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not
the sinners, but the righteous to repentance--such as invocations to
Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo
what Washington did.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations
against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the
Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT
MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR
DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.

SPEECH AT NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT, MARCH 6, 1860

MR. PRESIDENT, AND FELLOW-CITIZENS OF NEW HAVEN:--If the Republican
party of this nation shall ever have the national House entrusted to
its keeping, it will be the duty of that party to attend to all the
affairs of national housekeeping. Whatever matters of importance may
come up, whatever difficulties may arise in its way of administration
of the Government, that party will then have to attend to. It will
then be compelled to attend to other questions, besides this question
which now assumes an overwhelming importance--the question of
slavery. It is true that in the organization of the Republican party
this question of slavery was more important than any other: indeed,
so much more important has it become that no more national question
can even get a hearing just at present. The old question of tariff-
-a matter that will remain one of the chief affairs of national
house-keeping to all time; the question of the management of
financial affairs; the question of the disposition of the public
domain how shall it be managed for the purpose of getting it well
settled, and of making there the homes of a free and happy people?
these will remain open and require attention for a great while yet,
and these questions will have to be attended to by whatever party has
the control of the Government. Yet, just now, they cannot even
obtain a hearing, and I do not propose to detain you upon these
topics or what sort of hearing they should have when opportunity
shall come.

For, whether we will or not, the question of slavery is the question,
the all-absorbing topic of the day. It is true that all of us--and by
that I mean, not the Republican party alone, but the whole American
people, here and elsewhere--all of us wish this question settled,
wish it out of the way. It stands in the way, and prevents the
adjustment, and the giving of necessary attention to other questions
of national house-keeping. The people of the whole nation agree that
this question ought to be settled, and yet it is not settled. And
the reason is that they are not yet agreed how it shall be settled.
All wish it done, but some wish one way and some another, and some a
third, or fourth, or fifth; different bodies are pulling in different
directions, and none of them, having a decided majority, are able to
accomplish the common object.

In the beginning of the year 1854, a new policy was inaugurated with
the avowed object and confident promise that it would entirely and
forever put an end to the slavery agitation. It was again and again
declared that under this policy, when once successfully established,
the country would be forever rid of this whole question. Yet under
the operation of that policy this agitation has not only not ceased,
but it has been constantly augmented. And this too, although, from
the day of its introduction, its friends, who promised that it would
wholly end all agitation, constantly insisted, down to the time that
the Lecompton Bill was introduced, that it was working admirably, and
that its inevitable tendency was to remove the question forever from
the politics of the country. Can you call to mind any Democratic
speech, made after the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, down to the
time of the Lecompton Bill, in which it was not predicted that the
slavery agitation was just at an end, that "the abolition excitement
was played out," "the Kansas question was dead," "they have made the
most they can out of this question and it is now forever settled"?
But since the Lecompton Bill no Democrat, within my experience, has
ever pretended that he could see the end. That cry has been dropped.
They themselves do not pretend, now, that the agitation of this
subject has come to an end yet.

The truth is that this question is one of national importance, and we
cannot help dealing with it; we must do something about it, whether
we will or not. We cannot avoid it; the subject is one we cannot
avoid considering; we can no more avoid it than a man can live
without eating. It is upon us; it attaches to the body politic as
much and closely as the natural wants attach to our natural bodies.
Now I think it important that this matter should be taken up in
earnest, and really settled: And one way to bring about a true
settlement of the question is to understand its true magnitude.

There have been many efforts made to settle it. Again and again it
has been fondly hoped that it was settled; but every time it breaks
out afresh, and more violently than ever. It was settled, our
fathers hoped, by the Missouri Compromise, but it did not stay
settled. Then the compromises of 1850 were declared to be a full and
final settlement of the question. The two great parties, each in
national convention, adopted resolutions declaring that the
settlement made by the Compromise of 1850 was a finality that it
would last forever. Yet how long before it was unsettled again?
It broke out again in 1854, and blazed higher and raged more
furiously than ever before, and the agitation has not rested since.

These repeated settlements must have some faults about them. There
must be some inadequacy in their very nature to the purpose to which
they were designed. We can only speculate as to where that fault,
that inadequacy, is, but we may perhaps profit by past experiences.

I think that one of the causes of these repeated failures is that our
best and greatest men have greatly underestimated the size of this
question. They have constantly brought forward small cures for great
sores--plasters too small to cover the wound. That is one reason
that all settlements have proved temporary--so evanescent.

Look at the magnitude of this subject: One sixth of our population,
in round numbers--not quite one sixth, and yet more than a seventh,--
about one sixth of the whole population of the United States are
slaves. The owners of these slaves consider them property. The
effect upon the minds of the owners is that of property, and nothing
else it induces them to insist upon all that will favorably affect
its value as property, to demand laws and institutions and a public
policy that shall increase and secure its value, and make it durable,
lasting, and universal. The effect on the minds of the owners is to
persuade them that there is no wrong in it. The slaveholder does not
like to be considered a mean fellow for holding that species of
property, and hence, he has to struggle within himself and sets about
arguing himself into the belief that slavery is right. The property
influences his mind. The dissenting minister who argued some
theological point with one of the established church was always met
with the reply, "I can't see it so." He opened a Bible and pointed
him a passage, but the orthodox minister replied, "I can't see it
so." Then he showed him a single word --"Can you see that?" "Yes, I
see it," was the reply. The dissenter laid a guinea over the word
and asked, "Do you see it now?" So here. Whether the owners of this
species of property do really see it as it is, it is not for me to
say, but if they do, they see it as it is through two thousand
millions of dollars, and that is a pretty thick coating. Certain it
is that they do not see it as we see it. Certain it is that this two
thousand millions of dollars, invested in this species of property,
all so concentrated that the mind can grasp it at once--this immense
pecuniary interest--has its influence upon their minds.

But here in Connecticut and at the North slavery does not exist, and
we see it through no such medium.

To us it appears natural to think that slaves are human beings; men,
not property; that some of the things, at least, stated about men in
the Declaration of Independence apply to them as well as to us.
I say we think, most of us, that this charter of freedom applies to
the slaves as well as to ourselves; that the class of arguments put
forward to batter down that idea are also calculated to break down
the very idea of a free government, even for white men, and to
undermine the very foundations of free society. We think slavery a
great moral wrong, and, while we do not claim the right to touch it
where it exists, we wish to treat it as a wrong in the Territories,
where our votes will reach it. We think that a respect for
ourselves, a regard for future generations and for the God that made
us, require that we put down this wrong where our votes will properly
reach it. We think that species of labor an injury to free white men
--in short, we think slavery a great moral, social, and political
evil, tolerable only because, and so far as, its actual existence
makes it necessary to tolerate it, and that beyond that it ought to
be treated as a wrong.

Now these two ideas, the property idea that slavery is right, and the
idea that it is wrong, come into collision, and do actually produce
that irrepressible conflict which Mr. Seward has been so roundly
abused for mentioning. The two ideas conflict, and must conflict.

Again, in its political aspect, does anything in any way endanger the
perpetuity of this Union but that single thing, slavery? Many of our
adversaries are anxious to claim that they are specially devoted to
the Union, and take pains to charge upon us hostility to the Union.
Now we claim that we are the only true Union men, and we put to them
this one proposition: Whatever endangers this Union, save and except
slavery? Did any other thing ever cause a moment's fear? All men
must agree that this thing alone has ever endangered the perpetuity
of the Union. But if it was threatened by any other influence, would
not all men say that the best thing that could be done, if we could
not or ought not to destroy it, would be at least to keep it from
growing any larger? Can any man believe, that the way to save the
Union is to extend and increase the only thing that threatens the
Union, and to suffer it to grow bigger and bigger?

Whenever this question shall be settled, it must be settled on some
philosophical basis. No policy that does not rest upon some
philosophical opinion can be permanently maintained. And hence there
are but two policies in regard to slavery that can be at all
maintained. The first, based on the property view that slavery is
right, conforms to that idea throughout, and demands that we shall do
everything for it that we ought to do if it were right. We must
sweep away all opposition, for opposition to the right is wrong; we
must agree that slavery is right, and we must adopt the idea that
property has persuaded the owner to believe that slavery is morally
right and socially elevating. This gives a philosophical basis for a
permanent policy of encouragement.

The other policy is one that squares with the idea that slavery is
wrong, and it consists in doing everything that we ought to do if it
is wrong. Now, I don't wish to be misunderstood, nor to leave a gap
down to be misrepresented, even. I don't mean that we ought to
attack it where it exists. To me it seems that if we were to form a
government anew, in view of the actual presence of slavery we should
find it necessary to frame just such a government as our fathers did-
-giving to the slaveholder the entire control where the system was
established, while we possessed the power to restrain it from going
outside those limits. From the necessities of the case we should be
compelled to form just such a government as our blessed fathers gave
us; and, surely, if they have so made it, that adds another reason
why we should let slavery alone where it exists.

If I saw a venomous snake crawling in the road, any man would say I
might seize the nearest stick and kill it; but if I found that snake
in bed with my children, that would be another question. I might
hurt the children more than the snake, and it might bite them. Much
more if I found it in bed with my neighbor's children, and I had
bound myself by a solemn compact not to meddle with his children
under any circumstances, it would become me to let that particular
mode of getting rid of the gentleman alone. But if there was a bed
newly made up, to which the children were to be taken, and it was
proposed to take a batch of young snakes and put them there with
them, I take it no man would say there was any question how I ought
to decide!

That is just the case. The new Territories are the newly made bed to
which our children are to go, and it lies with the nation to say
whether they shall have snakes mixed up with them or not. It does
not seem as if there could be much hesitation what our policy should
be!

Now I have spoken of a policy based on the idea that slavery is
wrong, and a policy based on the idea that it is right. But an
effort has been made for a policy that shall treat it as neither
right nor wrong. It is based upon utter indifference. Its leading
advocate [Douglas] has said, "I don't care whether it be voted up or
down." "It is merely a matter of dollars and cents." "The Almighty
has drawn a line across this continent, on one side of which all soil
must forever be cultivated by slave labor, and on the other by free."
"When the struggle is between the white man and the negro, I am for
the white man; when it is between the negro and the crocodile, I am
for the negro." Its central idea is indifference. It holds that it
makes no more difference to us whether the Territories become free or
slave States than whether my neighbor stocks his farm with horned
cattle or puts in tobacco. All recognize this policy, the plausible
sugar-coated name of which is "popular sovereignty."

This policy chiefly stands in the way of a permanent settlement of
the question. I believe there is no danger of its becoming the
permanent policy of the country, for it is based on a public
indifference. There is nobody that "don't care." All the people do
care one way or the other! I do not charge that its author, when he
says he "don't care," states his individual opinion; he only
expresses his policy for the government. I understand that he has
never said as an individual whether he thought slavery right or
wrong--and he is the only man in the nation that has not! Now such a
policy may have a temporary run; it may spring up as necessary to the
political prospects of some gentleman; but it is utterly baseless:
the people are not indifferent, and it can therefore have no
durability or permanence.

But suppose it could: Then it could be maintained only by a public
opinion that shall say, "We don't care." There must be a change in
public opinion; the public mind must be so far debauched as to square
with this policy of caring not at all. The people must come to
consider this as "merely a question of dollars and cents," and to
believe that in some places the Almighty has made slavery necessarily
eternal. This policy can be brought to prevail if the people can be
brought round to say honestly, "We don't care"; if not, it can never
be maintained. It is for you to say whether that can be done.

You are ready to say it cannot, but be not too fast! Remember what a
long stride has been taken since the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise! Do you know of any Democrat, of either branch of the
party--do you know one who declares that he believes that the
Declaration of Independence has any application to the negro? Judge
Taney declares that it has not, and Judge Douglas even vilifies me
personally and scolds me roundly for saying that the Declaration
applies to all men, and that negroes are men. Is there a Democrat
here who does not deny that the Declaration applies to the negro? Do
any of you know of one? Well, I have tried before perhaps fifty
audiences, some larger and some smaller than this, to find one such
Democrat, and never yet have I found one who said I did not place him
right in that. I must assume that Democrats hold that, and now, not
one of these Democrats can show that he said that five years ago! I
venture to defy the whole party to produce one man that ever uttered
the belief that the Declaration did not apply to negroes, before the
repeal of the Missouri Compromise! Four or five years ago we all
thought negroes were men, and that when "all men" were named, negroes
were included. But the whole Democratic party has deliberately taken
negroes from the class of men and put them in the class of brutes.
Turn it as you will it is simply the truth! Don't be too hasty, then,
in saying that the people cannot be brought to this new doctrine, but
note that long stride. One more as long completes the journey from
where negroes are estimated as men to where they are estimated as
mere brutes--as rightful property!

That saying "In the struggle between white men and the negro," etc.,
which I know came from the same source as this policy--that saying
marks another step. There is a falsehood wrapped up in that
statement. "In the struggle between the white man and the negro"
assumes that there is a struggle, in which either the white man must
enslave the negro or the negro must enslave the white. There is no
such struggle! It is merely the ingenious falsehood to degrade and
brutalize the negro. Let each let the other alone, and there is no
struggle about it. If it was like two wrecked seamen on a narrow
plank, when each must push the other off or drown himself, I would
push the negro off or a white man either, but it is not; the plank is
large enough for both. This good earth is plenty broad enough for
white man and negro both, and there is no need of either pushing the
other off.

So that saying, "In the struggle between the negro and the
crocodile," etc., is made up from the idea that down where the
crocodile inhabits, a white man can't labor; it must be nothing else
but crocodile or negro; if the negro does not the crocodile must
possess the earth; in that case he declares for the negro. The
meaning of the whole is just this: As a white man is to a negro, so
is a negro to a crocodile; and as the negro may rightfully treat the
crocodile, so may the white man rightfully treat the negro. This
very dear phrase coined by its author, and so dear that he
deliberately repeats it in many speeches, has a tendency to still
further brutalize the negro, and to bring public opinion to the point
of utter indifference whether men so brutalized are enslaved or not.
When that time shall come, if ever, I think that policy to which I
refer may prevail. But I hope the good freemen of this country will
never allow it to come, and until then the policy can never be
maintained.

Now consider the effect of this policy. We in the States are not to
care whether freedom or slavery gets the better, but the people in
the Territories may care. They are to decide, and they may think
what they please; it is a matter of dollars and cents! But are not
the people of the Territories detailed from the States? If this
feeling of indifference this absence of moral sense about the
question prevails in the States, will it not be carried into the
Territories? Will not every man say, "I don't care, it is nothing to
me"? If any one comes that wants slavery, must they not say, "I don't
care whether freedom or slavery be voted up or voted down"? It
results at last in nationalizing the institution of slavery. Even if
fairly carried out, that policy is just as certain to nationalize
slavery as the doctrine of Jeff Davis himself. These are only two
roads to the same goal, and "popular sovereignty" is just as sure and
almost as short as the other.

What we want, and all we want, is to have with us the men who think
slavery wrong. But those who say they hate slavery, and are opposed
to it, but yet act with the Democratic party--where are they? Let us
apply a few tests. You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you
denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that
you think wrong that you are not willing to deal with as wrong? Why
are you so careful, so tender, of this one wrong and no other? You
will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no
place where you will even allow it to be called wrong! We must not
call it wrong in the free States, because it is not there, and we
must not call it wrong in the slave States, because it is there; we
must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality
into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because
that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into
the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are such
unsuitable places--and there is no single place, according to you,
where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!

Perhaps you will plead that if the people of the slave States should
themselves set on foot an effort for emancipation, you would wish
them success, and bid them God-speed. Let us test that: In 1858 the
emancipation party of Missouri, with Frank Blair at their head, tried
to get up a movement for that purpose, and having started a party
contested the State. Blair was beaten, apparently if not truly, and
when the news came to Connecticut, you, who knew that Frank Blair was
taking hold of this thing by the right end, and doing the only thing
that you say can properly be done to remove this wrong--did you bow
your heads in sorrow because of that defeat? Do you, any of you, know
one single Democrat that showed sorrow over that result? Not one! On
the contrary every man threw up his hat, and hallooed at the top of
his lungs, "Hooray for Democracy!"

Now, gentlemen, the Republicans desire to place this great question
of slavery on the very basis on which our fathers placed it, and no
other. It is easy to demonstrate that "our fathers, who framed this
Government under which we live," looked on slavery as wrong, and so
framed it and everything about it as to square with the idea that it
was wrong, so far as the necessities arising from its existence
permitted. In forming the Constitution they found the slave trade
existing, capital invested in it, fields depending upon it for labor,
and the whole system resting upon the importation of slave labor.
They therefore did not prohibit the slave trade at once, but they
gave the power to prohibit it after twenty years. Why was this? What
other foreign trade did they treat in that way? Would they have done
this if they had not thought slavery wrong?

Another thing was done by some of the same men who framed the
Constitution, and afterwards adopted as their own the act by the
first Congress held under that Constitution, of which many of the
framers were members, that prohibited the spread of slavery into
Territories. Thus the same men, the framers of the Constitution, cut
off the supply and prohibited the spread of slavery, and both acts
show conclusively that they considered that the thing was wrong.

If additional proof is wanted it can be found in the phraseology of
the Constitution. When men are framing a supreme law and chart of
government, to secure blessings and prosperity to untold generations
yet to come, they use language as short and direct and plain as can
be found, to express their meaning In all matters but this of
slavery the framers of the Constitution used the very clearest,
shortest, and most direct language. But the Constitution alludes to
slavery three times without mentioning it once The language used
becomes ambiguous, roundabout, and mystical. They speak of the
"immigration of persons," and mean the importation of slaves, but do
not say so. In establishing a basis of representation they say "all
other persons," when they mean to say slaves--why did they not use
the shortest phrase? In providing for the return of fugitives they
say "persons held to service or labor." If they had said slaves it
would have been plainer, and less liable to misconstruction. Why did
n't they do it? We cannot doubt that it was done on purpose. Only
one reason is possible, and that is supplied us by one of the framers
of the Constitution--and it is not possible for man to conceive of
any other--they expected and desired that the system would come to an
end, and meant that when it did, the Constitution should not show
that there ever had been a slave in this good free country of ours.

I will dwell on that no longer. I see the signs of approaching
triumph of the Republicans in the bearing of their political
adversaries. A great deal of their war with us nowadays is mere
bushwhacking. At the battle of Waterloo, when Napoleon's cavalry had
charged again and again upon the unbroken squares of British
infantry, at last they were giving up the attempt, and going off in
disorder, when some of the officers in mere vexation and complete
despair fired their pistols at those solid squares. The Democrats
are in that sort of extreme desperation; it is nothing else. I will
take up a few of these arguments.

There is "the irrepressible conflict." How they rail at Seward for
that saying! They repeat it constantly; and, although the proof has
been thrust under their noses again and again that almost every good
man since the formation of our Government has uttered that same
sentiment, from General Washington, who "trusted that we should yet
have a confederacy of free States," with Jefferson, Jay, Monroe, down
to the latest days, yet they refuse to notice that at all, and
persist in railing at Seward for saying it. Even Roger A. Pryor,
editor of the Richmond Enquirer, uttered the same sentiment in almost
the same language, and yet so little offence did it give the
Democrats that he was sent for to Washington to edit the States--the
Douglas organ there--while Douglas goes into hydrophobia and spasms
of rage because Seward dared to repeat it. This is what I call
bushwhacking, a sort of argument that they must know any child can
see through.

Another is John Brown: "You stir up insurrections, you invade the
South; John Brown! Harper's Ferry!" Why, John Brown was not a
Republican! You have never implicated a single Republican in that
Harper's Ferry enterprise. We tell you that if any member of the
Republican party is guilty in that matter, you know it or you do not
know it. If you do know it, you are inexcusable not to designate the
man and prove the fact. If you do not know it, you are inexcusable
to assert it, and especially to persist in the assertion after you
have tried and failed to make the proof. You need not be told that
persisting in a charge which one does not know to be true is simply
malicious slander. Some of you admit that no Republican designedly
aided or encouraged the Harper's Ferry affair, but still insist that
our doctrines and declarations necessarily lead to such results. We
do not believe it. We know we hold to no doctrines, and make no
declarations, which were not held to and made by our fathers who
framed the Government 'under which we live, and we cannot see how
declarations that were patriotic when they made them are villainous
when we make them. You never dealt fairly by us in relation to that
affair--and I will say frankly that I know of nothing in your
character that should lead us to suppose that you would. You had
just been soundly thrashed in elections in several States, and others
were soon to come. You rejoiced at the occasion, and only were
troubled that there were not three times as many killed in the
affair. You were in evident glee; there was no sorrow for the killed
nor for the peace of Virginia disturbed; you were rejoicing that by
charging Republicans with this thing you might get an advantage of us
in New York, and the other States. You pulled that string as tightly
as you could, but your very generous and worthy expectations were not
quite fulfilled. Each Republican knew that the charge was a slander
as to himself at least, and was not inclined by it to cast his vote
in your favor. It was mere bushwhacking, because you had nothing
else to do. You are still on that track, and I say, go on! If you
think you can slander a woman into loving you or a man into voting
for you, try it till you are satisfied!

Another specimen of this bushwhacking, that "shoe strike." Now be it
understood that I do not pretend to know all about the matter. I am
merely going to speculate a little about some of its phases. And at
the outset, I am glad to see that a system of labor prevails in New
England under which laborers can strike when they want to, where they
are not obliged to work under all circumstances, and are not tied
down and obliged to labor whether you pay them or not! I like the
system which lets a man quit when he wants to, and wish it might
prevail everywhere. One of the reasons why I am opposed to slavery
is just here. What is the true condition of the laborer? I take it
that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as
fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don't believe in a law to
prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good.
So, while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow
the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else.
When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is
such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there
is no fixed condition of labor for his whole life. I am not ashamed
to confess that twenty-five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling
rails, at work on a flatboat--just what might happen to any poor
man's son! I want every man to have a chance--and I believe a Black
man is entitled to it--in which he can better his condition; when he
may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the
next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for
him! That is the system. Up here in New England, you have a soil
that scarcely sprouts black-eyed beans, and yet where will you find
wealthy men so wealthy, and poverty so rarely in extremity? There is
not another such place on earth! I desire that if you get too thick
here, and find it hard to better your condition on this soil, you may
have a chance to strike and go somewhere else, where you may not be
degraded, nor have your families corrupted, by forced rivalry with
negro slaves. I want you to have a clean bed and no snakes in it!
Then you can better your condition, and so it may go on and on in one
endless round so long as man exists on the face of the earth!

Now, to come back to this shoe strike,--if, as the senator from
Illinois asserts, this is caused by withdrawal of Southern votes,
consider briefly how you will meet the difficulty. You have done
nothing, and have protested that you have done nothing, to injure the
South. And yet, to get back the shoe trade, you must leave off doing
something which you are now doing. What is it? You must stop
thinking slavery wrong! Let your institutions be wholly changed; let
your State constitutions be subverted; glorify slavery, and so you
will get back the shoe trade--for what? You have brought owned labor
with it, to compete with your own labor, to underwork you, and to
degrade you! Are you ready to get back the trade on those terms?

But the statement is not correct. You have not lost that trade;
orders were never better than now! Senator Mason, a Democrat, comes
into the Senate in homespun, a proof that the dissolution of the
Union has actually begun! but orders are the same. Your factories
have not struck work, neither those where they make anything for
coats, nor for pants nor for shirts, nor for ladies' dresses. Mr.
Mason has not reached the manufacturers who ought to have made him a
coat and pants! To make his proof good for anything he should have
come into the Senate barefoot!

Another bushwhacking contrivance; simply that, nothing else! I find a
good many people who are very much concerned about the loss of
Southern trade. Now either these people are sincere or they are not.
I will speculate a little about that. If they are sincere, and are
moved by any real danger of the loss of Southern trade, they will
simply get their names on the white list, and then, instead of
persuading Republicans to do likewise, they will be glad to keep you
away! Don't you see that they cut off competition? They would not be
whispering around to Republicans to come in and share the profits
with them. But if they are not sincere, and are merely trying to
fool Republicans out of their votes, they will grow very anxious
about your pecuniary prospects; they are afraid you are going to get
broken up and ruined; they do not care about Democratic votes, oh,
no, no, no! You must judge which class those belong to whom you meet:
I leave it to you to determine from the facts.

Let us notice some more of the stale charges against Republicans.
You say we are sectional. We deny it. That makes an issue; and the
burden of proof is upon you. You produce your proof; and what is it?
Why, that our party has no existence in your section--gets no votes
in your section. The fact is substantially true; but does it prove
the issue? If it does, then in case we should, without change of
principle, begin to get votes in your section, we should thereby
cease to be sectional. You cannot escape this conclusion; and yet,
are you willing to abide by it? If you are, you will probably soon
find that we have ceased to be sectional, for we shall get votes in
your section this very year. The fact that we get no votes in your
section is a fact of your making and not of ours. And if there be
fault in that fact, that fault is primarily yours, and remains so
until you show that we repel you by some wrong principle or practice.
If we do repel you by any wrong principle or practice, the fault is
ours; but this brings you to where you ought to have started--to a
discussion of the right or wrong of our principle. If our principle,
put in practice, would wrong your section for the benefit of ours, or
for any other object, then our principle, and we with it, are
sectional, and are justly opposed and denounced as such. Meet us,
then, on the question of whether our principle put in practice would
wrong your section; and so meet it as if it were possible that
something may be said on our side. Do you accept the challenge? No?
Then you really believe that the principle which our fathers who
framed the Government under which we live thought so clearly right as
to adopt it, and indorse it again and again, upon their official
oaths, is in fact so clearly wrong as to demand our condemnation
without a moment's consideration. Some of you delight to flaunt in
our faces the warning against sectional parties given by Washington
in his Farewell Address. Less than eight years before Washington
gave that warning, he had, as President of the United States,
approved and signed an act of Congress enforcing the prohibition of
slavery in the Northwestern Territory, which act embodied the policy
of government upon that subject, up to and at the very moment he
penned that warning; and about one year after he penned it he wrote
La Fayette that he considered that prohibition a wise measure,
expressing in the same connection his hope that we should sometime
have a confederacy of free States.

Bearing this in mind, and seeing that sectionalism has since arisen
upon this same subject, is that warning a weapon in your hands
against us, or in our hands against you? Could Washington himself
speak, would he cast the blame of that sectionalism upon us, who
sustain his policy, or upon you, who repudiate it? We respect that
warning of Washington, and we commend it to you, together with his
example pointing to the right application of it.

But you say you are conservative--eminently conservative--while we
are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is
conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the
new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy
on the point in controversy which was adopted by our fathers who
framed the Government under which we live; while you with one accord
reject and scout and spit upon that old policy, and insist upon
substituting something new.

True, you disagree among yourselves as to what that substitute shall
be. You have considerable variety of new propositions and plans, but
you are unanimous in rejecting and denouncing the old policy of the
fathers. Some of you are for reviving the foreign slave-trade; some
for a congressional slave code for the Territories; some for Congress
forbidding the Territories to prohibit slavery within their limits;
some for maintaining slavery in the Territories through the
judiciary; some for the "gur-reat pur-rinciple" that if one man would
enslave another, no third man should object--fantastically called
"popular sovereignty." But never a man among you in favor of
prohibition of slavery in Federal Territories, according to the
practice of our fathers who framed the Government under which we
live. Not one of all your various plans can show a precedent or an
advocate in the century within which our Government originated. And
yet you draw yourselves up and say, "We are eminently conservative."

It is exceedingly desirable that all parts of this great confederacy
shall be at peace, and in harmony one with another. Let us
Republicans do our part to have it so. Even though much provoked,
let us do nothing through passion and ill-temper. Even though the
Southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly
consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view
of our duty, we possibly can. Judging by all they say and do, and by
the subject and nature of their controversy with us, let us
determine, if we can, what will satisfy them.

Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally
surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present
complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned.
Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them,
in the future, if we have nothing to do with invasions and
insurrections? We know it will not. We so know because we know we
never had anything to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet
this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the
denunciation.

The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: we must not
only let them alone, but we must, somehow, convince them that we do
let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We
have been so trying to convince them, from the very beginning of our
organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and
speeches, we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone;
but this had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to
convince them is the fact that they have never detected a man of us
in any attempt to disturb them.

These natural and apparently adequate means all failing, what will
convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and
join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly--
done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated--we
must place ourselves avowedly with them. Douglas's new sedition law
must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that
slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits,
or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with
greedy pleasure. We must pull down our free State constitutions.
The whole atmosphere must be disinfected of all taint of opposition
to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles
proceed from us. So long as we call slavery wrong, whenever a slave
runs away they will overlook the obvious fact that be ran away
because he was oppressed, and declare he was stolen off. Whenever a
master cuts his slaves with a lash, and they cry out under it, he
will overlook the obvious fact that the negroes cry out because they
are hurt, and insist that they were put up to it by some rascally
abolitionist.

I am quite aware that they do not state their case precisely in this
way. Most of them would probably say to us, "Let us alone, do
nothing to us, and say what you please about slavery." But we do let
them alone--have never disturbed them--so that, after all, it is what
we say which dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us of
doing, until we cease saying.

I am also aware that they have not as yet in terms demanded the
overthrow of our free-State constitutions. Yet those constitutions
declare the wrong of slavery with more solemn emphasis than do all
other sayings against it; and when all these other sayings shall have
been silenced, the overthrow of these constitutions will be demanded.
It is nothing to the contrary that they do not demand the whole of
this just now. Demanding what they do, and for the reason they do,
they can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this consummation.
Holding as they do that slavery is morally right, and socially
elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national recognition of
it, as a legal right, and a social blessing.

Nor can we justifiably withhold this on any ground save our
conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words,
acts, laws, and constitutions against it are themselves wrong and
should be silenced and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly
object to its nationality--its universality: if it is wrong, they
cannot justly insist upon its extension--its enlargement. All they
ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask,
they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their
thinking it right and our thinking it wrong is the precise fact on
which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right as they do,
they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being
right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we
cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our
moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this?

Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where
it is because that much is due to the necessity arising from its
actual presence m the nation; but can we, while our votes will
prevent it, allow it to spread into the national Territories, and to
overrun us here in these free States?

If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty,
fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those
sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and
belabored--contrivances such as groping for some middle ground
between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who
would be neither a living man nor a dead man--such as a policy of
"don't care" on a question about which all free men do care--such as
Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists,
reversing the divine rule, and caning, not the sinners, but the
righteous to repentance--such as invocations of Washington, imploring
men to unsay what Washington did.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations
against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the
Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that
right makes might; and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do
our duty as we understand it.

[As Mr. Lincoln concluded his address, there was witnessed the
wildest scene of enthusiasm and excitement that has been in New Haven
for years. The Palladium editorially says: "We give up most of our
space to-day to a very full report of the eloquent speech of the HON.
Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, delivered last night at Union Hall."]

RESPONSE TO AN ELECTOR'S REQUEST FOR MONEY

TO ________________
March 16, 1860

As to your kind wishes for myself, allow me to say I cannot enter the
ring on the money basis--first, because in the main it is wrong; and
secondly, I have not and cannot get the money.

I say, in the main, the use of money is wrong; but for certain
objects in a political contest, the use of some is both right and
indispensable. With me, as with yourself, the long struggle has been
one of great pecuniary loss.

I now distinctly say this--if you shall be appointed a delegate to
Chicago, I will furnish one hundred dollars to bear the expenses of
the trip.

Your friend as ever,

A. LINCOLN.

[Extract from a letter to a Kansas delegate.]

TO J. W. SOMERS.

SPRINGFIELD, March 17, 1860

JAMES W. SOMERS, Esq.

DEAR SIR:--Reaching home three days ago, I found your letter of
February 26th. Considering your difficulty of hearing, I think you
had better settle in Chicago, if, as you say, a good man already in
fair practice there will take you into partnership. If you had not
that difficulty, I still should think it an even balance whether you
would not better remain in Chicago, with such a chance for
copartnership.

If I went west, I think I would go to Kansas, to Leavenworth or
Atchison. Both of them are and will continue to be fine growing
places.

I believe I have said all I can, and I have said it with the deepest
interest for your welfare.

Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

ACCUSATION OF HAVING BEEN PAID FOR A
POLITICAL SPEECH

TO C. F. McNEIL.

SPRINGFIELD, April 6, 1860

C. F. MCNEIL, Esq.

DEAR SIR:--Reaching home yesterday, I found yours of the 23d March,
inclosing a slip from The Middleport Press. It is not true that I
ever charged anything for a political speech in my life; but this
much is true: Last October I was requested by letter to deliver some
sort of speech in Mr. Beecher's church, in Brooklyn--two hundred
dollars being offered in the first letter. I wrote that I could do
it in February, provided they would take a political speech if I
could find time to get up no other. They agreed; and subsequently I
informed them the speech would have to be a political one. When I
reached New York, I for the first time learned that the place was
changed to "Cooper Institute." I made the speech, and left for New
Hampshire, where I have a son at school, neither asking for pay nor
having any offered me. Three days after a check for two hundred
dollars was sent to me at New Hampshire; and I took it, and did not
know it was wrong. My understanding now is--though I knew nothing of
it at the time--that they did charge for admittance to the Cooper
Institute, and that they took in more than twice two hundred dollars.

I have made this explanation to you as a friend; but I wish no
explanation made to our enemies. What they want is a squabble and a
fuss, and that they can have if we explain; and they cannot have it
if we don't.

When I returned through New York from New England, I was told by the
gentlemen who sent me the Check that a drunken vagabond in the club,
having learned something about the two hundred dollars, made the
exhibition out of which The Herald manufactured the article quoted by
The Press of your town.

My judgment is, and therefore my request is, that you give no denial
and no explanation.

Thanking you for your kind interest in the matter, I remain,
Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TO H. TAYLOR.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., April 21, 1860.

HAWKINS TAYLOR, Esq.

DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 15th is just received. It surprises me that
you have written twice, without receiving an answer. I have answered
all I ever received from you; and certainly one since my return from
the East.

Opinions here, as to the prospect of Douglas being nominated, are
quite conflicting--some very confident he will, and others that he
will not be. I think his nomination possible, but that the chances
are against him.

I am glad there is a prospect of your party passing this way to
Chicago. Wishing to make your visit here as pleasant as we can, we
wish you to notify us as soon as possible whether you come this way,
how many, and when you will arrive.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN

TELEGRAM TO A MEMBER OF THE ILLINOIS DELEGATION
AT THE CHICAGO CONVENTION.

Book of the day: