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The Great Conspiracy, Part 1. by John Alexander Logan

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credentials from the chief persons of the South, in order to invite
the attention of the British Government to the coming event; that
on his death-bed (Washington, March 31, 1850), he called around him
his political friends--one of whom is now in England--warned them
that in no event could the Union survive the Presidential election
of 1860, though it might possibly break up before that urged them
to be prepared; leaving with his dying words the sacred cause of
Southern secession a solemn legacy in their hands--to have told
this to the Norths and Dartmouths of the present day, with more and
even stronger evidence of the coming events of November, 1860,
would have been like speaking to the stones of the street. In
November, 1860, they were thoroughly ignorant of all the momentous
antecedents of secession--of their nature, their character, their
bearing, import, and consequences."

In the same correspondence the distinguished Rebel emissary
substantially let out the fact that Calhoun was indirectly, through
himself (Mason), in secret communication with the British
Government as far back as 1841, with a view to securing its
powerful aid in his aforesaid unalterable resolve to Secede from
the Union; and then Mr. Mason pleads--but pleads in vain--for the
armed intervention of England at this later day. Said he:

"In the year 1841 the late Sir William Napier sent in two plans for
subduing the Union, to the War Office, in the first of which the
South was to be treated as an enemy, in the second as a friend and
ally. I was much consulted by him as to the second plan and was
referred to by name in it, as he showed by the acknowledgment of
this in Lord Fitzroy Somerset's letter of reply. This plan fully
provided for the contingency of an invasion of Canada, and its
application would, in eighteen or twenty months, have reduced the
North to a much more impotent condition than it exhibits at
present. At this very moment the most difficult portion of that
plan has been perfectly accomplished by the South itself; and the
North, in accordance with Sir William Napier's expectations, now
lies helpless before England, and at our absolute mercy. Nor is
there any doubt of this, and if Lord Palmerston is not aware of it
Mr. Seward certainly is. We have nothing remaining to do but to
stretch out our arm in the way Sir William Napier proposed, and the
Northern power--power as we ignorantly call it--must come to an
end. Sir William knew and well estimated the elements of which
that quasi power consisted; and he knew how to apply the
substantive power of England to dissolve it. In the best interest
of humanity, I venture to say that it is the duty of England to
apply this power without further delay--its duty to itself, to its
starving operatives, to France, to Europe, and to humanity. And in
the discharge of this great duty to the world at large there will
not even be the dignity of sacrifice or danger."]

Threats and counter-threats of Disunion were made on either hand by the
opponents and advocates of Slavery-extension through annexation; nor was
it less agitated on the subject of a Protective Tariff.

The Compromise Tariff of 1833, together with President Jackson's
upheaval of our financial system, produced, as has already been hinted,
terrible commercial disasters. "In 1840," says competent authority, "all
prices had ruinously fallen; production had greatly diminished, and in
many departments of industry had practically ceased; thousands of
working men were idle, with no hope of employment, and their families
suffering from want. Our farmers were without markets, their products
rotted in their barns, and their lands, teeming with rich harvests, were
sold by the sheriff for debts and taxes. The Tariff, which robbed our
industries of Protection failed to supply Government with its necessary
revenues. The National Treasury in consequence was bankrupt, and the
credit of the Nation had sunk very low."

Mr. Clay himself stated "the average depression in the value of property
under that state of things which existed before the Tariff of 1842 came
to the rescue of the country, at fifty per cent." And hence it was that
Protection was made the chief issue of the Presidential campaign of
1840, which eventuated in the election of Harrison and Tyler, and in the
Tariff Act of August 30, 1842, which revived our trade and industries,
and brought back to the land a full measure of prosperity. With those
disasters fresh in the minds of the people, Protection continued to be a
leading issue in the succeeding Presidential campaign of 1844--but
coupled with the Texas-annexation issue. In that campaign Henry Clay
was the candidate of the Whig party and James K. Polk of the Democratic
party. Polk was an ardent believer in the annexation policy and stood
upon a platform declaring for the "re-occupation of Oregon and the
re-annexation of Texas at the earliest practicable moment"--as if the
prefix "re" legitimatized the claim in either case; Clay, on the other
hand, held that we had "fairly alienated our title to Texas by solemn
National compacts, to the fulfilment of which we stand bound by good
faith and National honor;" that "Annexation and War with Mexico are
identical," and that he was "not willing to involve this country in a
foreign War for the object of acquiring Texas."

[In his letter of April 17, 1844, published in the National

As to the Tariff issue also, Clay was the acknowledged champion of the
American system of Protection, while Polk was opposed to it, and was
supported by the entire Free-trade sentiment, whether North or South.

As the campaign progressed, it became evident that Clay would be
elected. Then occurred some of those fatalities which have more than
once, in the history of Presidential campaigns, overturned the most
reasonable expectations and defeated the popular will. Mr. Clay
committed a blunder and Mr. Polk an equivocation--to use the mildest
possible term. Mr. Clay was induced by Southern friends to write a
letter--[Published in the North Alabamian, Aug. 16, 1844.]--in which,
after stating that "far from having any personal objection to the
annexation of Texas, I should be glad to see it--without dishonor,
without War, with the common consent of the Union, and upon just and
fair terms," he added: "I do not think that the subject of Slavery ought
to affect the question, one way or the other." Mr. Polk, on the other
hand, wrote a letter in which he declared it to be "the duty of the
Government to extend, as far as it may be practicable to do so, by its
revenue laws and all other means within its power, fair and just
Protection to all the great interests of the whole Union, embracing
Agriculture, Manufactures, the Mechanic Arts, Commerce and Navigation."
This was supplemented by a letter (August 8, 1844) from Judge Wilson
McCandless of Pennsylvania, strongly upholding the Protective principle,
claiming that Clay in his Compromise Tariff Bill had abandoned it, and
that Polk and Dallas had "at heart the true interests of Pennsylvania."
Clay, thus betrayed by the treachery of Southern friends, was greatly
weakened, while Polk, by his beguiling letter, backed by the false
interpretation put upon it by powerful friends in the North, made the
North believe him a better Protectionist than Clay.

Polk was elected, and rewarded the misplaced confidence by making Robert
J. Walker his Secretary of the Treasury, and, largely through that
great Free Trader's exertions, secured a repeal by Congress of the
Protective Tariff of 1842 and the enactment of the ruinous Free Trade
Tariff of 1846. Had Clay carried New York, his election was secure. As
it happened, Polk had a plurality in New York of but 5,106 in an immense
vote, and that slim plurality was given to him by the Abolitionists
throwing away some 15,000 on Birney. And thus also it curiously
happened that it was the Abolition vote which secured the election of
the candidate who favored immediate annexation and the extension of the
Slave Power!

Emboldened and apparently sustained by the result of the election, the
Slave Power could not await the inauguration of Mr. Polk, but proceeded
at once, under whip and spur, to drive the Texas annexation scheme
through Congress; and two days before the 4th of March, 1845, an Act
consenting to the admission of the Republic of Texas as a State of the
Union was approved by President Tyler.

In that Act it was provided that "New States of convenient size, not
exceeding four in number, in addition to the said State of Texas, and
having sufficient population, may hereafter, by the consent of said
State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled
to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution; and such
States as may be formed out of that portion of said territory lying
south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly
known as the Missouri Compromise line, shall be admitted into the Union
with or without Slavery, as the people of each State asking admission
may desire. And in such State or States as shall be formed out of said
territory north of said Missouri Compromise line, Slavery or involuntary
servitude (except for crime) shall be prohibited." As has been lucidly
stated by another,--[Greeley's History]--"while seeming to curtail and
circumscribe Slavery north of the above parallel (that of 36 30' north
latitude), this measure really extended it northward to that parallel,
which it had not yet approached, under the flag of Texas, within
hundreds of miles. But the chief end of this sham Compromise was the
involving of Congress in an indirect indorsement of the claim of Texas
to the entire left bank of the Rio Grande, from its mouth to its source;
and this was effected."

Texas quickly consented to the Act of annexation, and in December, 1845,
a Joint Resolution formally admitting her as a State of the Union,
reported by Stephen A. Douglas, was duly passed.

In May, 1846, the American forces under General Taylor, which had been
dispatched to protect Texas from threatened assault, were attacked by
the Mexican army, which at Palo Alto was badly defeated and at Resaca de
la Palma driven back across the Rio Grande.

Congress immediately declared that by this invasion a state of War
existed between Mexico and the United States. Thus commenced the War
with Mexico--destined to end in the triumph of the American Army, and
the acquisition of large areas of territory to the United States. In
anticipation of such triumph, President Polk lost little time in asking
an appropriation of over two million dollars by Congress to facilitate
negotiations for peace with, and territorial cession from, Mexico. And
a Bill making such appropriation was quickly passed by the House of
Representatives--but with the following significant proviso attached,
which had been offered by Mr. Wilmot: "Provided. That as an express and
fundamental condition to the acquisition of any territory from the
Republic of Mexico by the United States, by virtue of any treaty that
may be negotiated between them, and to the use by the Executive of the
moneys herein appropriated, neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude
shall ever exist in any part of said territory, except for crime,
whereof the party shall first be duly convicted."

The debate in the Senate upon the Wilmot proviso, which immediately
ensued, was cut short by the expiration of the Session of Congress--and
the Bill accordingly failed of passage.

In February, 1848, the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was made between
Mexico and the United States, and Peace reigned once more. About the
same time a Bill was passed by the Senate providing Territorial
Governments for Oregon, California and New Mexico, which provided for
the reference of all questions touching Slavery in such Territories to
the United States Supreme Court, for arbitration. The Bill, however,
failed in the House. The ensuing Presidential campaign resulted in the
election of General Taylor, the Whig candidate, who was succeeded upon
his death, July 10, 1850, by Fillmore. Meanwhile, on the Oregon
Territory Bill, in 1848, a strong effort had been made by Mr. Douglas
and others to incorporate a provision extending to the Pacific Ocean the
Missouri Compromise line of 36 30' of north latitude and extending to
all future organizations of Territories of the United States the
principles of said Compromise. This provision was adopted by the
Senate, but the House struck it from the Bill; the Senate receded, and
Oregon was admitted as a Free Territory. But the conflict in Congress
between those who would extend and those who would restrict Slavery
still continued, and indeed gathered vehemence with time. In 1850,
California was clamoring for admission as a Free State to the Union, and
New Mexico and Utah sought to be organized under Territorial

In the heated discussions upon questions growing out of bills for these
purposes, and to rectify the boundaries of Texas, it was no easy matter
to reach an agreement of any sort. Finally, however, the Compromise of
1850, offered by Mr. Clay, was practically agreed to and carried out,
and under it: California was admitted as a Free State; New Mexico and
Utah were admitted to Territorial organization without a word pro or con
on the subject of Slavery; the State of Texas was awarded a pecuniary
compensation for the rectification of her boundaries; the Slave Trade in
the District of Columbia was abolished; and a more effectual Fugitive
Slave Act passed.

By both North and South, this Compromise of 1850, and the measures
growing out of it, were very generally acquiesced in, and for a while it
seemed as though a permanent settlement of the Slavery question had been
reached. But in the Fugitive Slave law, thus hastily enacted, lay
embedded the seed for further differences and excitements, speedily to
germinate. In its operation it proved not only unnecessarily cruel and
harsh, in the manner of the return to bondage of escaped slaves, but
also afforded a shield and support to the kidnapping of Free Negroes
from Northern States. The frequency of arrests in the Northern States,
and the accompanying circumstances of cruelty and brutality in the
execution of the law, soon made it especially odious throughout the
North, and created an active feeling of commiseration for the unhappy
victims of the Slave Power, which greatly intensified and increased the
growing Anti-Slavery sentiment in the Free States.

In 1852-53, an attempt was made in Congress to organize into the
Territory of Nebraska, the region of country lying west of Iowa and
Missouri. Owing to the opposition of the South the Bill was defeated.
In 1853-4 a similar Bill was reported to the Senate by Mr. Douglas, but
afterward at his own instance recommitted to the Committee on
Territories, and reported back by him again in such shape as to create,
instead of one, two Territories, that portion directly west of Missouri
to be called Kansas, and the balance to be known as Nebraska--one of the
sections of the Bill enacting:

"That in order to avoid all misconstruction it is hereby declared to be
the true intent and meaning of this Act, so far as the question of
Slavery is concerned, to carry into practical operation the following
propositions and principles, established by the Compromise measures of
1850, to wit:

"First, That all questions pertaining to Slavery in the Territories, and
the new States to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of
the people residing therein through their appropriate representatives.

"Second, That 'all cases involving title to slaves,' and 'questions of
personal freedom,' are referred to the adjudication of the local
tribunals with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United

"Third, That the provisions of the Constitution and laws of the United
States, in respect to fugitives from service, are to be carried into
faithful execution in all the `organized Territories,' the same as in
the States."

The sections authorizing Kansas and Nebraska to elect and send delegates
to Congress also prescribed:

"That the Constitution, and all laws of the United States which are not
locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect within the
said Territory, as elsewhere in the United States, except the section of
the Act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union,
approved March 6th, 1820, which was superseded by the principles of the
Legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures, and is
declared inoperative."

And when "explaining this Kansas-Nebraska Bill" Mr. Douglas announced
that, in reporting it, "The object of the Committee was neither to
legislate Slavery in or out of the Territories; neither to introduce nor
exclude it; but to remove whatever obstacle Congress had put there, and
apply the doctrine of Congressional Non-intervention in accordance with
the principles of the Compromise Measures of 1850, and allow the people
to do as they pleased upon this as well as all other matters affecting
their interests."

A vigorous and able debate ensued. A motion by Mr. Chase to strike out
the words "which was superseded by the principles of the legislation of
1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures," was defeated decisively.
Subsequently Mr. Douglas moved to strike out the same words and insert
in place of them, these: "which being inconsistent with the principles
of Non-intervention by Congress with Slavery in the States and
Territories, as recognized by the legislation of 1850 (commonly called
the Compromise Measures), is hereby declared inoperative and void; it
being the true intent and meaning of this Act not to legislate Slavery
into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave
the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic
institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the
United States"--and the motion was agreed to by a vote of 35 yeas to 10
nays. Mr. Chase immediately moved to add to the amendment just adopted
these words: "Under which, the people of the Territory, through their
appropriate representatives, may, if they see fit, prohibit the
existence of Slavery therein;" but this motion was voted down by 36 nays
to 10 yeas. This developed the rat in the meal-tub. The people were to
be "perfectly free" to act either way on the subject of Slavery, so long
as they did not prohibit Slavery! In this shape the Bill passed the

Public sentiment in the North was greatly stirred by this direct attempt
to repeal the Missouri Compromise. But by the superior parliamentary
tactics of Southern Representatives in the House, whereby the radical
friends of Freedom were shut out from the opportunity of amendment, a
House Bill essentially the same as the Senate Bill was subsequently
passed by the House, under the previous question, and afterward rapidly
passed the Senate, and was approved by the President. At once commenced
that long and terrible struggle between the friends of Free-Soil and the
friends of Slavery, for the possession of Kansas, which convulsed the
whole Country for years, and moistened the soil of that Territory with
streams of blood, shed in numerous "border-ruffian" conflicts.

The Territorial Government of Kansas was organized late in 1854, and an
"election" for Delegate held, at which the Pro-Slavery candidate
(Whitfield) was fraudulently elected. On March 30, 1855, a Territorial
Legislature was similarly chosen by Pro-Slavery voters "colonized" from
Missouri. That Legislature, upon its meeting, proceeded at once to
enact most outrageous Pro-Slavery laws, which being vetoed by the
Free-Soil Governor (Reeder), were passed over the veto, and the Free-Soil
Governor had to give place to one who favored Slavery in Kansas. But
the Free-Soil settlers of Kansas, in Mass Convention at Big Springs,
utterly repudiated the bogus Legislature and all its acts, to which they
refused submission.

In consequence of these radical differences, two separate elections for
Delegate in Congress were held by the opposing factions, at one of which
was elected the Pro-Slavery Whitfield, and at the other the Free-Soiler
Reeder. Furthermore, under a call issued by the Big Springs Convention,
a Free-State Constitutional Convention was held in October, 1855, at
Topeka, which framed a Free-State Constitution, and asked admission
under it to the Union.

In 1856, the House of Representatives--which, after a protracted
struggle, had elected N. P. Banks Speaker--passed a Bill, by a bare
majority, admitting Kansas under her Topeka Constitution; but the Senate
defeated it. July 4, 1856, by order of President Pierce, the Free-State
Legislature, chosen under the Topeka Constitution to meet at Topeka, was
dispersed by United States Troops. Yet, despite all oppositions,
discouragements, and outrages, the Free-State population of
Kansas continued to increase from immigration.

In 1857, the Pro-Slavery Legislature elected by the Pro-Slavery voters
at their own special election--the Free-State voters declining to
participate--called a Constitutional Convention at Lecompton, which
formed a Pro-Slavery Constitution. This was submitted to the people in
such dexterous manner that they could only vote "For the Constitution
with Slavery" or "For the Constitution without Slavery"--and, as the
Constitution prescribed that "the rights of property in Slaves now in
the Territory, shall in no manner be interfered with," to vote "for the
Constitution Without Slavery" was an absurdity only paralleled by the
course of the United States Senate in refusing to permit the people of
Kansas "to prohibit Slavery" while at the same time declaring them
"perfectly free to act" as they chose in the matter.

The Constitution, with Slavery, was thus adopted by a vote of over
6,000. But in the meanwhile, at another general election held for the
purpose, and despite all the frauds perpetrated by the Pro-Slavery men,
a Free-State Legislature, and Free-State Delegate to Congress had been
elected; and this Legislature submitted the Lecompton Pro-Slavery
Constitution to the people, January 4, 1858, so that they could vote:
"For the Lecompton Constitution with Slavery," "For the Lecompton
Constitution without Slavery," or "Against the Lecompton Constitution."
The consequence was that the Lecompton Constitution was defeated by a
majority of over 10,000 votes--the Missouri Pro-Slavery colonists
declining to recognize the validity of any further election on the

Meanwhile, in part upon the issues growing out of this Kansas conflict,
the political parties of the Nation had passed through another
Presidential campaign (1856), in which the Democratic candidate Buchanan
had been elected over Fremont the "Republican," and Fillmore the
"American," candidates. Both Houses of Congress being now Democratic,
Mr. Buchanan recommended them to accept and ratify the Lecompton
Pro-Slavery Constitution.

In March, 1858, the Senate passed a Bill--against the efforts of Stephen
A. Douglas--accepting it. In the House, however, a substitute offered
by Mr. Montgomery (Douglas Democrat) known as the Crittenden-Montgomery
Compromise, was adopted. The Senate refused to concur, and the report
of a Committee of Conference--providing for submitting to the Kansas
people a proposition placing limitations upon certain public land
advantages stipulated for in the Lecompton Constitution, and in case
they rejected the proposition that another Constitutional Convention
should be held--was adopted by both Houses; and the proposition being
rejected by the people of Kansas, the Pro-Slavery Lecompton Constitution
fell with it.

In 1859 a Convention, called by the Territorial Legislature for the
purpose, met at Wyandot, and framed a Free State Constitution which was
adopted by the people in October of that year, and at the ensuing State
election in December the State went Republican. In April, 1860, the
House of Representatives passed a Bill admitting Kansas as a State under
that Constitution, but the Democratic Senate adjourned without action on
the Bill; and it was not until early in 1861 that Kansas was at last

In the meantime, the Free Trade Tariff of 1846 had produced the train of
business and financial disasters that its opponents predicted. Instead
of prosperity everywhere in the land, there was misery and ruin. Even
the discovery and working of the rich placer mines of California and the
consequent flow, in enormous volume, of her golden treasure into the
Eastern States, could not stay-the wide-spread flood of disaster.
President Fillmore, who had succeeded General Taylor on the latter's
death, frequently called the attention of Congress to the evils produced
by this Free Trade, and to the necessity of protecting our manufactures
"from ruinous competition from abroad." So also with his successor,
President Buchanan, who, in his Message of 1857, declared that "In the
midst of unsurpassed plenty in all the productions and in all the
elements of national wealth, we find our manufactures suspended, our
public works retarded, our private enterprises of different kinds
abandoned, and thousands of useful laborers thrown out of employment and
reduced to want." Further than this, the financial credit of the Nation
was at zero. It was financially bankrupt before the close of Buchanan's
Presidential term.



But now occurred the great Presidential struggle of 1860 --which
involved not alone the principles of Protection, but those of human
Freedom, and the preservation of the Union itself-between Abraham
Lincoln of Illinois, the candidate of the Republican party, as against
Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, the National or Douglas-Democratic
candidate, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, the Administration or
Breckinridge-Democratic candidate, and John Bell of Tennessee, the
candidate of the Bell-Union party. The great preliminary struggle which
largely influenced the determination of the Presidential political
conflict of 1860, had, however, taken place in the State of Illinois,
two years previously. To that preliminary political contest of 1858,
therefore, we will now turn our eyes--and, in order to fully understand
it, it may be well to glance back over a few years. In 1851 the
Legislature of Illinois had adopted--[The vote in the House being 65
yeas to 4 nays.]--the following resolution: "Resolved, That our Liberty
and Independence are based upon the right of the people to form for
themselves such a government as they may choose; that this great
principle, the birthright of freemen, the gift of Heaven, secured to us
by the blood of our ancestors, ought to be secured to future
generations, and no limitation ought to be applied to this power in the
organization of any Territory of the United States, of either
Territorial Government or State Constitution, provided the government so
established shall be Republican and in conformity with the Constitution
of the United States." This resolution was a practical endorsement of
the course of Stephen A. Douglas in supporting the Compromise measures
of 1850, which he had defended as being "all founded upon the great
principle that every people ought to possess the right to form and
regulate their own domestic institutions in their own way," and that
"the same principle" should be "extended to all of the Territories of
the United States."

In accordance with his views and the resolution aforesaid, Mr. Douglas
in 1854, as we have already seen, incorporated in the Kansas-Nebraska
Bill a clause declaring it to be "the true intent and meaning of the Act
not to legislate Slavery into any State or Territory, or to exclude it
therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and
regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to
the Constitution of the United States."

His position, as stated by himself, was, substantially that the
Lecompton Pro-Slavery Constitution was a fraud upon the people of
Kansas, in that it did not embody the will of that people; and he denied
the right of Congress to force a Constitution upon an unwilling people
--without regard, on his part, to whether that Constitution allowed or
prohibited Slavery or any other thing, whether good or bad. He held
that the people themselves were the sole judges of whether it is good or
bad, and whether desirable or not.

The Supreme Court of the United States had in the meantime made a
decision in a case afterward known as the "Dred Scott case," which was
held back until after the Presidential election of 1856 had taken place,
and added fuel to the political fire already raging. Dred Scott was a
Negro Slave. His owner voluntarily took him first into a Free State,
and afterward into a Territory which came within the Congressional
prohibitive legislation aforesaid. That decision in brief was
substantially that no Negro Slave imported from Africa, nor his
descendant, can be a citizen of any State within the meaning of the
Constitution; that neither the Congress nor any Territorial Legislature
has under the Constitution of the United States, the power to exclude
Slavery from any Territory of the United States; and that it is for the
State Courts of the Slave State, into which the negro has been conveyed
by his master, and not for the United States Courts, to decide whether
that Negro, having been held to actual Slavery in a Free State, has, by
virtue of residence in such State, himself become Free.

Now it was, that the meaning of the words, "subject only to the
Constitution," as used in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, began to be
discerned. For if the people of a Territory were to be "perfectly
free," to deal with Slavery as they chose, "subject only to the
Constitution" they were by this Judicial interpretation of that
instrument "perfectly free" to deal with Slavery in any way so long as
they did not attempt "to exclude" it! The thing was all one-sided.
Mr. Douglas's attitude in inventing the peculiar phraseology in the
Kansas-Nebraska Act--which to some seemed as if expressly "made to
order" for the Dred Scott decision--was criticized with asperity; the
popularity, however, of his courageous stand against President Buchanan
on the Lecompton fraud, seemed to make it certain that, his term in the
United States Senate being about to expire, he would be overwhelmingly
re-elected to that body.

But at this juncture occurred something, which for a long time held the
result in doubt, and drew the excited attention of the whole Nation to
Illinois as the great battle-ground. In 1858 a Republican State
Convention was held at Springfield, Ill., which nominated Abraham
Lincoln as the Republican candidate for United States Senator to succeed
Senator Douglas in the National Legislature. On June 16th--after such
nomination--Mr. Lincoln made to the Convention a speech--in which, with
great and incisive power, he assailed Mr. Douglas's position as well as
that of the whole Democratic Pro-Slavery Party, and announced in compact
and cogent phrase, from his own point of view, the attitude, upon the
Slavery question, of the Republican Party.

In that remarkable speech--which at once attracted the attention of the
Country--Mr. Lincoln said: "We are now far into the fifth year, since a
policy was initiated with the avowed object, and confident promise, of
putting an end to Slavery agitation. Under the operation of that
policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly
augmented. In my opinion it will not cease, until a crisis shall have
been reached and passed. 'A House divided against itself cannot stand.'
I believe this Government cannot endure permanently half Slave and half
Free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved--I do not expect the
House to fall--but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will
become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of Slavery
will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind
shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate
extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become
alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as

[Governor Seward's announcement of an "irrepressible conflict" was
made four months later.]

He then proceeded to lay bare and closely analyze the history of all
that had been done, during the four years preceding, to produce the
prevailing condition of things touching human Slavery; describing it as
resulting from that, "now almost complete legal combination-piece of
machinery, so to speak--compounded of the Nebraska doctrine and the Dred
Scott decision." After stating the several points of that decision, and
that the doctrine of the "Sacred right of self-government" had been
perverted by the Nebraska "Squatter Sovereignty," argument to mean that,
"if any one man chose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed
to object," he proceeded to show the grounds upon which he charged
"pre-concert" among the builders of that machinery. Said he: "The people
were to be left perfectly free, 'subject only to the Constitution.'
What the Constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not see.
Plainly enough now, it was an exactly fitted niche for the Dred Scott
decision to afterward come in and declare the perfect freedom of the
people to be just no freedom at all. Why was the amendment, expressly
declaring the right of the people, voted down? Plainly enough now, the
adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision.
Why was the Court decision held up? Why even a Senator's individual
opinion withheld, till after the Presidential election? Plainly enough
now: the speaking out then would have damaged the 'perfectly free'
argument upon which the election was to be carried. Why the outgoing
President's felicitation on the indorsement? Why the delay of a
re-argument? Why the incoming President's advance exhortation in favor of
the decision? These things look like the cautious patting and petting
of a spirited horse, preparatory to mounting him, when it is dreaded
that he may give the rider a fall. And why the hasty after-indorsement
of the decision, by the President and others? We cannot absolutely know
that all these exact adaptations are the result of pre-concert. But
when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know
have been gotten out at different times and places and by different
workmen--Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James--[Douglas, Pierce, Taney
and Buchanan.]--for instance--and when we see these timbers joined
together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all
the tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and
proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective
places, and not a piece too many or too few--not omitting even the
scaffolding, or, if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the
frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in--in such a
case, we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and
Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all
worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow was

He drew attention also to the fact that by the Nebraska Bill the people
of a State, as well as a Territory, were to be left "perfectly free,"
"subject only to the Constitution," and that the object of lugging a
"State" into this merely Territorial law was to enable the United States
Supreme Court in some subsequent decision to declare, when the public
mind had been sufficiently imbued with Judge Douglas's notion of not
caring "whether Slavery be voted up or voted down," that "the
Constitution of the United States does not permit a State to exclude
Slavery from its limits"--which would make Slavery "alike lawful in all
the States." That, he declared to be Judge Douglas's present mission:
--"His avowed mission is impressing the 'public heart' to care nothing
about it." Hence Mr. Lincoln urged Republicans to stand by their cause,
which must be placed in the hands of its friends, "Whose hands are free,
whose hearts are in the work--who do care for the result;" for he held
that "a living dog is better than a dead lion."

On the evening of July 9, 1858, at Chicago, Mr. Douglas (Mr. Lincoln
being present) spoke to an enthusiastic assemblage, which he fitly
described as a "vast sea of human faces," and, after stating that he
regarded "the Lecompton battle as having been fought and the victory
won, because the arrogant demand for the admission of Kansas under the
Lecompton Constitution unconditionally, whether her people wanted it or
not, has been abandoned, and the principle which recognizes the right of
the people to decide for themselves has been submitted in its place," he
proceeded to vindicate his position throughout; declared that he opposed
"the Lecompton monstrosity solely on the ground than it was a violation
of the fundamental principles of free government; on the ground that it
was not the act and deed of the people of Kansas; that it did not embody
their will; that they were averse to it;" and hence he "denied the right
of Congress to force it upon them, either as a Free State or a Slave

Said he: "I deny the right of Congress to force a Slaveholding State
upon an unwilling people. I deny their right to force a Free State upon
an unwilling people. I deny their right to force a good thing upon a
people who are unwilling to receive it. The great principle is the
right of every community to judge and decide for itself, whether a thing
is right or wrong, whether it would be good or evil for them to adopt
it; and the right of free action, the right of free thought, the right
of free judgment upon the question is dearer to every true American than
any other under a free Government. * * * It is no answer to this
argument to say that Slavery is an evil, and hence should not be
tolerated. You must allow the people to decide for themselves whether
it is good or evil." He then adverted to the arraignment of himself by
Mr. Lincoln, and took direct issue with that gentleman on his
proposition that, as to Freedom and Slavery, "the Union will become all
one thing or all the other;" and maintained on the contrary, that "it is
neither desirable nor possible that there should be uniformity in the
local institutions and domestic regulations of the different States of
this Union."

Upon the further proposition of Mr. Lincoln, which Mr. Douglas described
as "a crusade against the Supreme Court of the United States on account
of the Dred Scott decision," and as "an appeal from the decision" of
that Court "upon this high Constitutional question to a Republican
caucus sitting in the country," he also took "direct and distinct issue
with him." To "the reason assigned by Mr. Lincoln for resisting the
decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case * * * because it
deprives the Negro of the privileges, immunities and rights of
citizenship which pertain, according to that decision, only to the White
man," Mr. Douglas also took exception thus: "I am free to say to you
that in my opinion this Government of ours is founded on the White
basis. It was made by the White man for the benefit of the White man,
to be administered by White men, in such manner as they should
determine. It is also true that a Negro, an Indian, or any other man of
inferior race to a White man, should be permitted to enjoy, and humanity
requires that he should have, all the rights, privileges, and immunities
which he is capable of exercising consistent with the safety of society.
* * * But you may ask me what are these rights and these privileges?
My answer is, that each State must decide for itself the nature and
extent of these rights. * * * Without indorsing the wisdom of that
decision, I assert that Virginia has the same power by virtue of her
sovereignty to protect Slavery within her limits, as Illinois has to
banish it forever from our own borders. I assert the right of each
State to decide for itself on all these questions, and I do not
subscribe to the doctrine of my friend, Mr. Lincoln, that uniformity is
either desirable or possible. I do not acknowledge that the States must
all be Free or must all be Slave. I do not acknowledge that the Negro
must have civil and political rights everywhere or nowhere. * * * I do
not acknowledge any of these doctrines of uniformity in the local and
domestic regulations in the different States. * * * Mr. Lincoln goes
for a warfare upon the Supreme Court of the United States because of
their judicial decision in the Dred Scott case. I yield obedience to
the decisions in that Court--to the final determination of the highest
judicial tribunal known to our Constitution. He objects to the Dred
Scott decision because it does not put the Negro in the possession of
the rights of citizenship on an equality with the White man. I am
opposed to Negro equality. * * * I would extend to the Negro, and the
Indian, and to all dependent races every right, every privilege, and
every immunity consistent with the safety and welfare of the White
races; but equality they never should have, either political or social,
or in any other respect whatever. * * * My friends, you see that the
issues are distinctly drawn."

On the following evening (July 10th) at Chicago, Mr. Lincoln addressed
another enthusiastic assemblage, in reply to Mr. Douglas; and, after
protesting against a charge that had been made the previous night by the
latter, of an "unnatural and unholy" alliance between Administration
Democrats and Republicans to defeat him, as being beyond his own
knowledge and belief, proceeded: "Popular Sovereignty! Everlasting
Popular Sovereignty! Let us for a moment inquire into this vast matter
of Popular Sovereignty. What is Popular Sovereignty? We recollect at
an early period in the history of this struggle there was another name
for the same thing--Squatter Sovereignty. It was not exactly Popular
Sovereignty, but Squatter Sovereignty. What do those terms mean? What
do those terms mean when used now? And vast credit is taken by our
friend, the Judge, in regard to his support of it, when he declares the
last years of his life have been, and all the future years of his life
shall be, devoted to this matter of Popular Sovereignty. What is it?
Why it is the Sovereignty of the People! What was Squatter Sovereignty?
I suppose if it had any significance at all, it was the right of the
people to govern themselves, to be sovereign in their own affairs while
they were squatted down in a country not their own--while they had
squatted on a territory that did not belong to them in the sense that a
State belongs to the people who inhabit it--when it belonged to the
Nation--such right to govern themselves was called 'Squatter

"Now I wish you to mark. What has become of that Squatter Sovereignty?
What has become of it? Can you get anybody to tell you now that the
people of a Territory have any authority to govern themselves, in regard
to this mooted question of Slavery, before they form a State
Constitution? No such thing at all, although there is a general running
fire and although there has been a hurrah made in every speech on that
side, assuming that that policy had given the people of a Territory the
right to govern themselves upon this question; yet the point is dodged.
To-day it has been decided--no more than a year ago it was decided by
the Supreme Court of the United States, and is insisted upon to-day,
that the people of a Territory have no right to exclude Slavery from a
Territory, that if any one man chooses to take Slaves into a Territory,
all the rest of the people have no right to keep them out. This being
so, and this decision being made one of the points that the Judge
(Douglas) approved, * * * he says he is in favor of it, and sticks to
it, and expects to win his battle on that decision, which says there is
no such thing as Squatter Sovereignty; but that any man may take Slaves
into a Territory and all the other men in the Territory may be opposed
to it, and yet by reason of the Constitution they cannot prohibit it;
when that is so, how much is left of this vast matter of Squatter
Sovereignty, I should like to know? Again, when we get to the question
of the right of the people to form a State Constitution as they please,
to form it with Slavery or without Slavery--if that is anything new, I
confess I don't know it * * *.

"We do not remember that, in that old Declaration of Independence, it is
said that 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted
among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'
There, is the origin of Popular Sovereignty. Who, then, shall come in
at this day and claim that he invented it? The Lecompton Constitution
connects itself with this question, for it is in this matter of the
Lecompton Constitution that our friend, Judge Douglas, claims such vast
credit. I agree that in opposing the Lecompton Constitution, so far as
I can perceive, he was right. * * * All the Republicans in the Nation
opposed it, and they would have opposed it just as much without Judge
Douglas's aid as with it. They had all taken ground against it long
before he did. Why, the reason that he urges against that Constitution,
I urged against him a year before. I have the printed speech in my hand
now. The argument that he makes, why that Constitution should not be
adopted, that the people were not fairly represented nor allowed to
vote, I pointed out in a speech a year ago which I hold in my hand now,
that no fair chance was to be given to the people. * * * The Lecompton
Constitution, as the Judge tells us, was defeated. The defeat of it was
a good thing or it was not. He thinks the defeat of it was a good
thing, and so do I, and we agree in that. Who defeated it? [A voice
--'Judge Douglas.'] Yes, he furnished himself, and if you suppose he
controlled the other Democrats that went with him, he furnished three
votes, while the Republicans furnished twenty. That is what he did to
defeat it. In the House of Representatives he and his friends furnished
some twenty votes, and the Republicans furnished ninety odd. Now, who
was it that did the work? * * * Ground was taken against it by the
Republicans long before Douglas did it. The proportion of opposition to
that measure is about five to one."

Mr. Lincoln then proceeded to take up the issues which Mr. Douglas had
joined with him the previous evening. He denied that he had said, or
that it could be fairly inferred from what he had said, in his
Springfield speech, that he was in favor of making War by the North upon
the South for the extinction of Slavery, "or, in favor of inviting the
South to a War upon the North, for the purpose of nationalizing
Slavery." Said he: "I did not even say that I desired that Slavery
should be put in course of ultimate extinction. I do say so now,
however; so there need be no longer any difficulty about that. * * * I
am tolerably well acquainted with the history of the Country and I know
that it has endured eighty-two years half Slave and half Free. I
believe--and that is what I meant to allude to there--I believe it has
endured, because during all that time, until the introduction of the
Nebraska Bill, the public mind did rest all the, time in the belief that
Slavery was in course of ultimate extinction. That was what gave us the
rest that we had through that period of eighty-two years; at least, so I

"I have always hated Slavery, I think, as much as any Abolitionist--I
have been an Old Line Whig--I have always hated it, but I have always
been quiet about it until this new era of the introduction of the
Nebraska Bill began. I always believed that everybody was against it,
and that it was in course of ultimate extinction. * * * The great mass
of the Nation have rested in the belief that Slavery was in course of
ultimate extinction. They had reason so to believe. The adoption of
the Constitution and its attendant history led the People to believe so,
and that such was the belief of the framers of the Constitution itself.
Why did those old men about the time of the adoption of the Constitution
decree that Slavery should not go into the new territory, where it had
not already gone? Why declare that within twenty years the African
Slave Trade, by which Slaves are supplied, might be cut off by Congress?
Why were all these acts? I might enumerate more of these acts--but
enough. What were they but a clear indication that the framers of the
Constitution intended and expected the ultimate extinction of that

"And now, when I say, as I said in my speech that Judge Douglas has
quoted from, when I say that I think the opponents of Slavery will
resist the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind
shall rest with the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction,
I only mean to say, that they will place it where the founders of this
Government originally placed it. I have said a hundred times, and I
have now no inclination to take it back, that I believe there is no
right, and ought to be no inclination in the people of the Free States,
to enter into the Slave States, and interfere with the question of
Slavery at all. I have said that always; Judge Douglas has heard me say
it--if not quite a hundred times, at least as good as a hundred times;
and when it is said that I am in favor of interfering with Slavery where
it exists, I know that it is unwarranted by anything I have ever
intended, and as I believe, by anything I have ever said. If, by any
means, I have ever used language which could fairly be so construe (as,
however, I believe I never have) I now correct it. So much, then, for
the inference that Judge Douglas draws, that I am in favor of setting
the Sections at War with one another.

"Now in relation to his inference that I am in favor of a general
consolidation of all the local institutions of the various States * * *
I have said, very many times in Judge Douglas's hearing, that no man
believed more than I in the principle of self-government from beginning
to end. I have denied that his use of that term applies properly. But
for the thing itself, I deny that any man has ever gone ahead of me in
his devotion to the principle, whatever he may have done in efficiency
in advocating it. I think that I have said it in your hearing--that I
believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with
himself and the fruit of his labor, so far as it in no wise interferes
with any other man's rights--that each community, as a State, has a
right to do exactly as it pleases with all the concerns within that
State that interfere with the rights of no other State, and that the
General Government, upon principle, has no right to interfere with
anything other than that general class of things that does concern the
whole. I have said that at all times.

"I have said, as illustrations, that I do not believe in the right of
Illinois to interfere with the cranberry laws of Indiana, the oyster
laws of Virginia, or the liquor laws of Maine. I have said these things
over and over again, and I repeat them here as my sentiments. * * *
What can authorize him to draw any such inference? I suppose there
might be one thing that at least enabled him to draw such an inference
that would not be true with me or many others, that is, because he looks
upon all this matter of Slavery as an exceedingly little thing--this
matter of keeping one-sixth of the population of the whole Nation in a
state of oppression and tyranny unequaled in the World.

"He looks upon it as being an exceedingly little thing only equal to the
cranberry laws of Indiana--as something having no moral question in it
--as something on a par with the question of whether a man shall pasture
his land with cattle, or plant it with tobacco--so little and so small a
thing, that he concludes, if I could desire that anything should be done
to bring about the ultimate extinction of that little thing, I must be
in favor of bringing about an amalgamation of all the other little
things in the Union.

"Now it so happens--and there, I presume, is the foundation of this
mistake--that the Judge thinks thus; and it so happens that there is a
vast portion of the American People that do not look upon that matter as
being this very little thing. They look upon it as a vast moral evil;
they can prove it as such by the writings of those who gave us the
blessings of Liberty which we enjoy, and that they so looked upon it,
and not as an evil merely confining itself to the States where it is
situated; while we agree that, by the Constitution we assented to, in
the States where it exists we have no right to interfere with it,
because it is in the Constitution; and we are by both duty and
inclination to stick by that Constitution in all its letter and spirit,
from beginning to end. * * * The Judge can have no issue with me on a
question of establishing uniformity in the domestic regulations of the
States. * * *

"Another of the issues he says that is to be made with me, is upon his
devotion to the Dred Scott decision, and my opposition to it. I have
expressed heretofore, and I now repeat, my opposition to the Dred Scott
decision; but I should be allowed to state the nature of that
opposition. * * * What is fairly implied by the term Judge Douglas has
used, 'resistance to the decision?' I do not resist it. If I wanted to
take Dred Scott from his master, I would be interfering with property
and that terrible difficulty that Judge Douglas speaks of, of
interfering with property, would arise. But I am doing no such thing as
that, but all that I am doing is refusing to obey it, as a political
rule. If I were in Congress, and a vote should come up on a question
whether Slavery should be prohibited in a new Territory, in spite of the
Dred Scott decision, I would vote that it should. That is what I would

"Judge Douglas said last night, that before the decision he might
advance his opinion, and it might be contrary to the decision when it
was made; but after it was made, he would abide by it until it was
reversed. Just so! We let this property abide by the decision, but we
will try to reverse that decision. We will try to put it where Judge
Douglas would not object, for he says he will obey it until it is
reversed. Somebody has to reverse that decision, since it is made, and
we mean to reverse it, and we mean to do it peaceably.

"What are the uses of decisions of Courts? They have two uses. As
rules of property they have two uses. First, they decide upon the
question before the Court. They decide in this case that Dred Scott is
a Slave. Nobody resists that. Not only that, but they say to everybody
else, that persons standing just as Dred Scott stands, are as he is.
That is, they say that when a question comes up upon another person, it
will be so decided again, unless the Court decides in another way
--unless the Court overrules its decision.--Well, we mean to do what we
can to have the Court decide the other way. That is one thing we mean
to try to do.

"The sacredness that Judge Douglas throws around this decision is a
degree of sacredness that has never before been thrown around any other
decision. I have never heard of such a thing. Why, decisions
apparently contrary to that decision, or that good lawyers thought were
contrary to that decision, have been made by that very Court before. It
is the first of its kind; it is an astonisher in legal history. It is a
new wonder of the world. It is based upon falsehood in the main as to
the facts--allegations of facts upon which it stands are not facts at
all in many instances; and no decision made on any question--the first
instance of a decision made under so many unfavorable circumstances
--thus placed, has ever been held by the profession as law, and it has
always needed confirmation before the lawyers regarded it as settled
law. But Judge Douglas will have it that all hands must take this
extraordinary decision, made under these extraordinary circumstances,
and give their vote in Congress in accordance with it, yield to it and
obey it in every possible sense.

"Circumstances alter cases. Do not gentlemen remember the case of that
same Supreme Court, some twenty-five or thirty years ago, deciding that
a National Bank was Constitutional? * * * The Bank charter ran out,
and a recharter was granted by Congress. That re-charter was laid
before General Jackson. It was urged upon him, when he denied the
Constitutionality of the Bank, that the Supreme Court had decided that
it was Constitutional; and General Jackson then said that the Supreme
Court had no right to lay down a rule to govern a co-ordinate branch of
the Government, the members of which had sworn to support the
Constitution--that each member had sworn to support that Constitution as
he understood it. I will venture here to say, that I have heard Judge
Douglas say that he approved of General Jackson for that act. What has
now become of all his tirade about 'resistance to the Supreme Court?'"

After adverting to Judge Douglas's warfare on "the leaders" of the
Republican party, and his desire to have "it understood that the mass of
the Republican party are really his friends," Mr. Lincoln said: "If you
indorse him, you tell him you do not care whether Slavery be voted up or
down, and he will close, or try to close, your mouths with his
declaration repeated by the day, the week, the month, and the year. Is
that what you mean? * * * Now I could ask the Republican party, after
all the hard names that Judge Douglas has called them by, all his
repeated charges of their inclination to marry with and hug negroes--all
his declarations of Black Republicanism--by the way, we are improving,
the black has got rubbed off--but with all that, if he be indorsed by
Republican votes, where do you stand? Plainly, you stand ready saddled,
bridled, and harnessed, and waiting to be driven over to the
Slavery-extension camp of the Nation--just ready to be driven over, tied
together in a lot--to be driven over, every man with a rope around his
neck, that halter being held by Judge Douglas. That is the question.
If Republican men have been in earnest in what they have done, I think
that they has better not do it. * * *

"We were often--more than once at least--in the course of Judge
Douglas's speech last night, reminded that this Government was made for
White men--that he believed it was made for White men. Well, that is
putting it in a shape in which no one wants to deny it; but the Judge
then goes into his passion for drawing inferences that are not
warranted. I protest, now and forever, against that counterfeit logic
which presumes that because I do not want a Negro woman for a Slave I do
necessarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that I need not
have her for either; but, as God has made us separate, we can leave one
another alone, and do one another much good thereby. There are White
men enough to marry all the White women, and enough Black men to marry
all the Black women, and in God's name let them be so married. The
Judge regales us with the terrible enormities that take place by the
mixture of races; that the inferior race bears the superior down. Why,
Judge, if we do not let them get together in the Territories, they won't
mix there.

" * * * Those arguments that are made, that the inferior race are to be
treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoying; that as
much is to be done for them as their condition will allow--what are
these arguments? They are the arguments that Kings have made for
enslaving the People in all ages of the World. You will find that all
the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always
bestrode the necks of the People, not that they wanted to do it, but
because the People were better off for being ridden! That is their
argument, and this argument of the Judge is the same old Serpent that
says: you work, and I eat; you toil, and I will enjoy the fruits of it.

"Turn it whatever way you will--whether it come from the mouth of a
King, an excuse for enslaving the People of his Country, or from the
mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another
race, it is all the same old Serpent; and I hold, if that course of
argumentation that is made for the purpose of convincing the public mind
that we should not care about this, should be granted, it does not stop
with the Negro.

"I should like to know, taking this old Declaration of Independence,
which declares that all men are equal upon principle, and making
exceptions to it, where will it stop? If one man says it does not mean
a Negro, why not say it does not mean some other man? If that
Declaration is not the truth, let us get the Statute Book, in which we
find it, and tear it out! Who is so bold as to do it? If it is not
true, let us tear it out!" [Cries of "No, no."] "Let us stick to it
then; let us stand firmly by it, then. * * *

" * * * The Saviour, I suppose, did not expect that any human creature
could be perfect as the Father in Heaven; but He said, 'As your Father
in Heaven is perfect, be ye also perfect.' He set that up as a
standard, and he who did most toward reaching that standard, attained
the highest degree of moral perfection. So I say, in relation to the
principle that all men are created equal--let it be as nearly reached as
we can. If we cannot give Freedom to every creature, let us do nothing
that will impose Slavery upon any other creature. Let us then turn this
Government back into the channel in which the framers of the
Constitution originally placed it. Let us stand firmly by each other.
* * * Let us discard all this quibbling * * * and unite as one People
throughout this Land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that
all men are created equal."

At Bloomington, July 16th (Mr. Lincoln being present), Judge Douglas
made another great speech of vindication and attack. After sketching
the history of the Kansas-Nebraska struggle, from the introduction by
himself of the Nebraska Bill in the United States Senate, in 1854, down
to the passage of the "English" Bill--which prescribed substantially
that if the people of Kansas would come in as a Slave-holding State,
they should be admitted with but 35,000 inhabitants; but if they would
come in as a Free State, they must have 93,420 inhabitants; which unfair
restriction was opposed by Judge Douglas, but to which after it became
law he "bowed in deference," because whatever decision the people of
Kansas might make on the coming third of August would be "final and
conclusive of the whole question"--he proceeded to compliment the
Republicans in Congress, for supporting the Crittenden-Montgomery Bill
--for coming "to the Douglas platform, abandoning their own, believing
(in the language of the New York Tribune), that under the peculiar
circumstances they would in that mode best subserve the interests of the
Country;" and then again attacked Mr. Lincoln for his "unholy and
unnatural alliance" with the Lecompton-Democrats to defeat him, because
of which, said he: "You will find he does not say a word against the
Lecompton Constitution or its supporters. He is as silent as the grave
upon that subject. Behold Mr. Lincoln courting Lecompton votes, in
order that he may go to the Senate as the representative of Republican
principles! You know that the alliance exists. I think you will find
that it will ooze out before the contest is over." Then with many
handsome compliments to the personal character of Mr. Lincoln, and
declaring that the question for decision was "whether his principles are
more in accordance with the genius of our free institutions, the peace
and harmony of the Republic" than those advocated by himself, Judge
Douglas proceeded to discuss what he described as "the two points at
issue between Mr. Lincoln and myself."

Said he: "Although the Republic has existed from 1789 to this day,
divided into Free States and Slave States, yet we are told that in the
future it cannot endure unless they shall become all Free or all Slave.
* * * He wishes to go to the Senate of the United States in order to
carry out that line of public policy which will compel all the States in
the South to become Free. How is he going to do it? Has Congress any
power over the subject of Slavery in Kentucky or Virginia or any other
State of this Union? How, then, is Mr. Lincoln going to carry out that
principle which he says is essential to the existence of this Union, to
wit: That Slavery must be abolished in all the States of the Union or
must be established in them all? You convince the South that they must
either establish Slavery in Illinois and in every other Free State, or
submit to its abolition in every Southern State and you invite them to
make a warfare upon the Northern States in order to establish Slavery
for the sake of perpetuating it at home. Thus, Mr. Lincoln invites, by
his proposition, a War of Sections, a War between Illinois and Kentucky,
a War between the Free States and the Slave States, a War between the
North and South, for the purpose of either exterminating Slavery in
every Southern State or planting it in every Northern State. He tells
you that the safety of the Republic, that the existence of this Union,
depends upon that warfare being carried on until one Section or the
other shall be entirely subdued. The States must all be Free or Slave,
for a house divided against itself cannot stand. That is Mr. Lincoln's
argument upon that question. My friends, is it possible to preserve
Peace between the North and the South if such a doctrine shall prevail
in either Section of the Union?

"Will you ever submit to a warfare waged by the Southern States to
establish Slavery in Illinois? What man in Illinois would not lose the
last drop of his heart's blood before lie would submit to the
institution of Slavery being forced upon us by the other States against
our will? And if that be true of us, what Southern man would not shed
the last drop of his heart's blood to prevent Illinois, or any other
Northern State, from interfering to abolish Slavery in his State? Each
of these States is sovereign under the Constitution; and if we wish to
preserve our liberties, the reserved rights and sovereignty of each and
every State must be maintained. * * * The difference between Mr.
Lincoln and myself upon this point is, that he goes for a combination of
the Northern States, or the organization of a sectional political party
in the Free States, to make War on the domestic institutions of the
Southern States, and to prosecute that War until they all shall be
subdued, and made to conform to such rules as the North shall dictate to

"I am aware that Mr. Lincoln, on Saturday night last, made a speech at
Chicago for the purpose, as he said, of explaining his position on this
question. * * * His answer to this point which I have been arguing,
is, that he never did mean, and that I ought to know that he never
intended to convey the idea, that he wished the people of
the Free States to enter into the Southern States and interfere with
Slavery. Well, I never did suppose that he ever dreamed of entering
into Kentucky, to make War upon her institutions, nor will any
Abolitionist ever enter into Kentucky to wage such War. Their mode of
making War is not to enter into those States where Slavery exists, and
there interfere, and render themselves responsible for the consequences.
Oh, no! They stand on this side of the Ohio River and shoot across.
They stand in Bloomington and shake their fists at the people of
Lexington; they threaten South Carolina from Chicago. And they call
that bravery! But they are very particular, as Mr. Lincoln says, not to
enter into those States for the purpose of interfering with the
institution of Slavery there. I am not only opposed to entering into
the Slave States, for the purpose of interfering with their
institutions, but I am opposed to a sectional agitation to control the
institutions of other States. I am opposed to organizing a sectional
party, which appeals to Northern pride, and Northern passion and
prejudice, against Southern institutions, thus stirring up ill feeling
and hot blood between brethren of the same Republic. I am opposed to
that whole system of sectional agitation, which can produce nothing but
strife, but discord, but hostility, and finally disunion. * * *

"I ask Mr. Lincoln how it is that he purposes ultimately to bring about
this uniformity in each and all the States of the Union? There is but
one possible mode which I can see, and perhaps Mr. Lincoln intends to
pursue it; that is, to introduce a proposition into the Senate to change
the Constitution of the United States in order that all the State
Legislatures may be abolished, State Sovereignty blotted out, and the
power conferred upon Congress to make local laws and establish the
domestic institutions and police regulations uniformly throughout the
United States.

"Are you prepared for such a change in the institutions of your country?
Whenever you shall have blotted out the State Sovereignties, abolished
the State Legislatures, and consolidated all the power in the Federal
Government, you will have established a Consolidated Empire as
destructive to the Liberties of the People and the Rights of the Citizen
as that of Austria, or Russia, or any other despotism that rests upon
the neck of the People. * * * There is but one possible way in which
Slavery can be abolished, and that is by leaving a State, according to
the principle of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, perfectly free to form and
regulate its institutions in its own way. That was the principle upon
which this Republic was founded, and it is under the operation of that
principle that we have been able to preserve the Union thus far under
its operation. Slavery disappeared from New Hampshire, from Rhode
Island, from Connecticut, from New York, from New Jersey, from
Pennsylvania, from six of the twelve original Slave-holding States; and
this gradual system of emancipation went on quietly, peacefully, and
steadily, so long as we in the Free States minded our own business, and
left our neighbors alone.

"But the moment the Abolition Societies were organized throughout the
North, preaching a violent crusade against Slavery in the Southern
States, this combination necessarily caused a counter-combination in the
South, and a sectional line was drawn which was a barrier to any further
emancipation. Bear in mind that emancipation has not taken place in any
one State since the Free Soil Party was organized as a political party
in this country. Emancipation went on gradually, in State after State,
so long as the Free States were content with managing their own affairs
and leaving the South perfectly free to do as they pleased; but the
moment the North said we are powerful enough to control you of the
South, the moment the North proclaimed itself the determined master of
the South, that moment the South combined to resist the attack, and thus
sectional parties were formed and gradual emancipation ceased in all the
Slave-holding States.

"And yet Mr. Lincoln, in view of these historical facts, proposes to
keep up this sectional agitation, band all the Northern States together
in one political Party, elect a President by Northern votes alone, and
then, of course, make a Cabinet composed of Northern men, and administer
the Government by Northern men only, denying all the Southern States of
this Union any participation in the administration of affairs
whatsoever. I submit to you, my fellow-citizens, whether such a line of
policy is consistent with the peace and harmony of the Country? Can the
Union endure under such a system of policy? He has taken his position
in favor of sectional agitation and sectional warfare. I have taken
mine in favor of securing peace, harmony, and good-will among all the
States, by permitting each to mind its own business, and
discountenancing any attempt at interference on the part of one State
with the domestic concerns of the others. * * *

"Mr. Lincoln tells you that he is opposed to the decision of the Supreme
Court in the Dred Scott case. Well, suppose he is; what is he going to
do about it? * * * Why, he says he is going to appeal to Congress. Let
us see how he will appeal to Congress. He tells us that on the 8th of
March, 1820, Congress passed a law called the Missouri Compromise,
prohibiting Slavery forever in all the territory west of the Mississippi
and north of the Missouri line of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes;
that Dred Scott, a slave in Missouri, was taken by his master to Fort
Snelling, in the present State of Minnesota, situated on the west branch
of the Mississippi River, and consequently in the Territory where
Slavery was prohibited by the Act of 1820; and that when Dred Scott
appealed for his Freedom in consequence of having been taken into that
Territory, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that Dred
Scott did not become Free by being taken into that Territory, but that
having been carried back to Missouri, was yet a Slave.

"Mr. Lincoln is going to appeal from that decision and reverse it. He
does not intend to reverse it as to Dred Scott. Oh, no! But he will
reverse it so that it shall not stand as a rule in the future. How will
he do it? He says that if he is elected to the Senate he will introduce
and pass a law just like the Missouri Compromise, prohibiting Slavery
again in all the Territories. Suppose he does re-enact the same law
which the Court has pronounced unconstitutional, will that make it
Constitutional? * * * Will it be any more valid? Will he be able to
convince the Court that the second Act is valid, when the first is
invalid and void? What good does it do to pass a second Act? Why, it
will have the effect to arraign the Supreme Court before the People, and
to bring them into all the political discussions of the Country. Will
that do any good? * * *

"The functions of Congress are to enact the Statutes, the province of
the Court is to pronounce upon their validity, and the duty of the
Executive is to carry the decision into effect when rendered by the
Court. And yet, notwithstanding the Constitution makes the decision of
the Court final in regard to the validity of an Act of Congress, Mr.
Lincoln is going to reverse that decision by passing another Act of
Congress. When he has become convinced of the Folly of the proposition,
perhaps he will resort to the same subterfuge that I have found others
of his Party resort to, which is to agitate and agitate until he can
change the Supreme Court and put other men in the places of the present

After ridiculing this proposition at some length, he proceeded:

"Mr. Lincoln is alarmed for fear that, under the Dred Scott decision,
Slavery will go into all the Territories of the United States. All I
have to say is that, with or without this decision, Slavery will go just
where the People want it, and not an inch further. * * * Hence, if the
People of a Territory want Slavery, they will encourage it by passing
affirmatory laws, and the necessary police regulations, patrol laws and
Slave Code; if they do not want it, they will withhold that legislation,
and, by withholding it, Slavery is as dead as if it was prohibited by a
Constitutional prohibition, especially if, in addition, their
legislation is unfriendly, as it would be if they were opposed to it."

Then, taking up what he said was "Mr. Lincoln's main objection to the
Dred Scott decision," to wit: "that that decision deprives the Negro of
the benefits of that clause of the Constitution of the United States
which entitles the citizens of each State to all the privileges and
immunities of citizens of the several States," and admitting that such
would be its effect, Mr. Douglas contended at some length that this
Government was "founded on the White basis" for the benefit of the
Whites and their posterity. He did "not believe that it was the design
or intention of the signers of the Declaration of Independence or the
frames of the Constitution to include Negroes, Indians, or other
inferior races, with White men as citizens;" nor that the former "had
any reference to Negroes, when they used the expression that all men
were created equal," nor to "any other inferior race." He held that,
"They were speaking only of the White race, and never dreamed that their
language would be construed to apply to the Negro;" and after ridiculing
the contrary view, insisted that, "The history of the Country shows that
neither the signers of the Declaration, nor the Framers of the
Constitution, ever supposed it possible that their language would be
used in an attempt to make this Nation a mixed Nation of Indians,
Negroes, Whites, and Mongrels."

The "Fathers proceeded on the White basis, making the White people the
governing race, but conceding to the Indian and Negro, and all inferior
races, all the rights and all the privileges they could enjoy consistent
with the safety of the society in which they lived. That," said he, "is
my opinion now. I told you that humanity, philanthropy, justice, and
sound policy required that we should give the Negro every right, every
privilege, every immunity consistent with the safety and welfare of the
State. The question, then, naturally arises, what are those rights and
privileges, and what is the nature and extent of them? My answer is,
that that is a question which each State and each Territory must decide
for itself. * * * I am content with that position. My friend Lincoln
is not. * * * He thinks that the Almighty made the Negro his equal and
his brother. For my part I do not consider the Negro any kin to me, nor
to any other White man; but I would still carry my humanity and my
philanthropy to the extent of giving him every privilege and every
immunity that he could enjoy, consistent with our own good."

After again referring to the principles connected with non-interference
in the domestic institutions of the States and Territories, and to the
devotion of all his energies to them "since 1850, when," said he, "I
acted side by side with the immortal Clay and the god-like Webster, in
that memorable struggle in which Whigs and Democrats united upon a
common platform of patriotism and the Constitution, throwing aside
partisan feelings in order to restore peace and harmony to a distracted
Country"--he alluded to the death-bed of Clay, and the pledges made by
himself to both Clay and Webster to devote his own life to the
vindication of the principles of that Compromise of 1850 as a means of
preserving the Union; and concluded with this appeal: "This Union can
only be preserved by maintaining the fraternal feeling between the North
and the South, the East and the West. If that good feeling can be
preserved, the Union will be as perpetual as the fame of its great
founders. It can be maintained by preserving the sovereignty of the
States, the right of each State and each Territory to settle its
domestic concerns for itself, and the duty of each to refrain from
interfering with the other in any of its local or domestic institutions.
Let that be done, and the Union will be perpetual; let that be done, and
this Republic, which began with thirteen States and which now numbers
thirty-two, which when it began, only extended from the Atlantic to the
Mississippi, but now reaches to the Pacific, may yet expand, North and
South, until it covers the whole Continent, and becomes one vast
ocean-bound Confederacy. Then, my friends, the path of duty, of honor,
of patriotism, is plain. There are a few simple principles to be
preserved. Bear in mind the dividing line between State rights and
Federal authority; let us maintain the great principles of Popular
Sovereignty, of State rights and of the Federal Union as the
Constitution has made it, and this Republic will endure forever."

On the next evening, July 17th, at Springfield, both Douglas and Lincoln
addressed separate meetings.

After covering much the same ground with regard to the history of the
Kansas-Nebraska struggle and his own attitude upon it, as he did in his
previous speech, Mr. Douglas declined to comment upon Mr. Lincoln's
intimation of a Conspiracy between Douglas, Pierce, Buchanan, and Taney
for the passage of the Nebraska Bill, the rendition of the Dred Scott
decision, and the extension of Slavery, but proceeded to dilate on the
"uniformity" issue between himself and Mr. Lincoln, in much the same
strain as before, tersely summing up with the statement that "there is a
distinct issue of principles--principles irreconcilable--between Mr.
Lincoln and myself. He goes for consolidation and uniformity in our
Government. I go for maintaining the Confederation of the Sovereign
States under the Constitution, as our fathers made it, leaving each
State at liberty to manage its own affairs and own internal

He then ridiculed, at considerable length, Mr. Lincoln's proposed
methods of securing a reversal by the United States Supreme Court of the
Dred Scott decision--especially that of an "appeal to the People to
elect a President who will appoint judges who will reverse the Dred
Scott decision," which he characterized as "a proposition to make that
Court the corrupt, unscrupulous tool of a political party," and asked,
"when we refuse to abide by Judicial decisions, what protection is there
left for life and property? To whom shall you appeal? To mob law, to
partisan caucuses, to town meetings, to revolution? Where is the remedy
when you refuse obedience to the constituted authorities?" In other
respects the speech was largely a repetition of his Bloomington speech.

Mr. Lincoln in his speech, the same night, at Springfield, opened by
contrasting the disadvantages under which, by reason of an unfair
apportionment of State Legislative representation and otherwise, the
Republicans of Illinois labored in this fight. Among other
disadvantages--whereby he said the Republicans were forced "to fight
this battle upon principle and upon principle alone"--were those which
he said arose "out of the relative positions of the two persons who
stand before the State as candidates for the Senate."

Said he: "Senator Douglas is of world-wide renown. All the anxious
politicians of his Party, or who have been of his Party for years past,
have been looking upon him as certainly, at no distant day, to be the
President of the United States. They have seen in his round, jolly,
fruitful face, Post-offices, Land-offices, Marshalships, and Cabinet
appointments, Chargeships and Foreign Missions, bursting and sprouting
out in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid hold of by their greedy
hands. And as they have been gazing upon this attractive picture so
long, they cannot, in the little distraction that has taken place in the
party, bring themselves to give up the charming hope; but with greedier
anxiety they rush about him, sustain him, and give him marches,
triumphal entries, and receptions, beyond what even in the days of his
highest prosperity they could have brought about in his favor. On the
contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor,
lean, lank face, nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting

Then he described the main points of Senator Douglas's plan of campaign
as being not very numerous. "The first," he said, "is Popular
Sovereignty. The second and third are attacks upon my speech made on
the 16th of June. Out of these three points-drawing within the range of
Popular Sovereignty the question of the Lecompton Constitution--he makes
his principal assault. Upon these his successive speeches are
substantially one and the same." Touching the first point, "Popular
Sovereignty"--"the great staple" of Mr. Douglas's campaign--Mr. Lincoln
affirmed that it was "the most arrant Quixotism that was ever enacted
before a community."

He said that everybody understood that "we have not been in a
controversy about the right of a People to govern themselves in the
ordinary matters of domestic concern in the States and Territories;"
that, "in this controversy, whatever has been said has had reference to
the question of Negro Slavery;" and "hence," said he, "when hereafter I
speak of Popular Sovereignty, I wish to be understood as applying what I
say to the question of Slavery only; not to other minor domestic matters
of a Territory or a State."

Having cleared away the cobwebs, Mr. Lincoln proceeded:

"Does Judge Douglas, when he says that several of the past years of his
life have been devoted to the question of 'Popular Sovereignty' * * *
mean to say that he has been devoting his life to securing the People of
the Territories the right to exclude Slavery from the Territories? If
he means so to say, he means to deceive; because he and every one knows
that the decision of the Supreme Court, which he approves, and makes
special ground of attack upon me for disapproving, forbids the People of
a Territory to exclude Slavery.

"This covers the whole ground from the settlement of a Territory till it
reaches the degree of maturity entitling it to form a State
Constitution. * * * This being so, the period of time from the first
settlement of a Territory till it reaches the point of forming a State
Constitution, is not the thing that the Judge has fought for, or is
fighting for; but, on the contrary, he has fought for, and is fighting
for, the thing that annihilates and crushes out that same Popular
Sovereignty. Well, so much being disposed of, what is left? Why, he is
contending for the right of the People, when they come to make a State
Constitution, to make it for themselves, and precisely as best suits
themselves. I say again, that is Quixotic. I defy contradiction when I
declare that the Judge can find no one to oppose him on that
proposition. I repeat, there is nobody opposing that proposition on
principle. * * * Nobody is opposing, or has opposed, the right of the
People when they form a State Constitution, to form it for themselves.
Mr. Buchanan and his friends have not done it; they, too, as well as the
Republicans and the Anti-Lecompton Democrats, have not done it; but on
the contrary, they together have insisted on the right of the People to
form a Constitution for themselves. The difference between the Buchanan
men, on the one hand, and the Douglas men and the Republicans, on the
other, has not been on a question of principle, but on a question of
fact * * * whether the Lecompton Constitution had been fairly formed by
the People or not. * * * As to the principle, all were agreed.

"Judge Douglas voted with the Republicans upon that matter of fact. He
and they, by their voices and votes, denied that it was a fair emanation
of the People. The Administration affirmed that it was. * * * This
being so, what is Judge Douglas going to spend his life for? Is he
going to spend his life in maintaining a principle that no body on earth
opposes? Does he expect to stand up in majestic dignity and go through
his apotheosis and become a god, in the maintaining of a principle which
neither man nor mouse in all God's creation is opposing?"

After ridiculing the assumption that Judge Douglas was entitled to all
the credit for the defeat of the Lecompton Constitution in the House of
Representatives--when the defeating vote numbered 120, of which 6 were
Americans, 20 Douglas (or Anti-Lecompton) Democrats, and 94 Republicans
--and hinting that perhaps he placed "his superior claim to credit, on
the ground that he performed a good act which was never expected of
him," or "upon the ground of the parable of the lost sheep," of which it
had been said, "that there was more rejoicing over the one sheep that
was lost and had been found, than over the ninety and nine in the fold
--" he added: "The application is made by the Saviour in this parable,
thus: 'Verily, I say unto you, there is more rejoicing in Heaven over
one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons that
need no repentance.' And now if the Judge claims the benefit of this
parable, let him repent. Let him not come up here and say: 'I am the
only just person; and you are the ninety-nine sinners!' Repentance
before forgiveness is a provision of the Christian system, and on that
condition alone will the Republicans grant his forgiveness."

After complaining that Judge Douglas misrepresented his attitude as
indicated in his 16th of June speech at Springfield, in charging that he
invited "a War of Sections;"--that he proposed that "all the local
institutions of the different States shall become consolidated and
uniform," Mr. Lincoln denied that that speech could fairly bear such

In that speech he (Mr. L.) had simply expressed an expectation that
"either the opponents of Slavery will arrest the further spread of it,
and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is
in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it
forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well
as new, North as well as South." Since then, at Chicago, he had also
expressed a "wish to see the spread of Slavery arrested, and to see it
placed where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the
course of ultimate extinction"--and, said he: "I said that, because I
supposed, when the public mind shall rest in that belief, we shall have
Peace on the Slavery question. I have believed--and now believe--the
public mind did rest on that belief up to the introduction of the
Nebraska Bill. Although I have ever been opposed to Slavery, so far I
rested in the hope and belief that it was in the course of ultimate
extinction. For that reason, it had been a minor question with me. I
might have been mistaken; but I had believed, and now believe, that the
whole public mind, that is, the mind of the great majority, had rested
in that belief up to the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise. But upon
that event, I became convinced that either I had been resting in a
delusion, or the institution was being placed on a new basis--a basis
for making it Perpetual, National, and Universal. Subsequent events
have greatly confirmed me in that belief.

"I believe that Bill to be the beginning of a Conspiracy for that
purpose. So believing, I have since then considered that question a
paramount one. So believing, I thought the public mind would never rest
till the power of Congress to restrict the spread of it shall again be
acknowledged and exercised on the one hand, or, on the other, all
resistance be entirely crushed out. I have expressed that opinion and I
entertain it to-night."

Having given some pieces of evidence in proof of the "tendency," he had
discovered, to the Nationalization of Slavery in these States, Mr.
Lincoln continued: "And now, as to the Judge's inference, that because I
wish to see Slavery placed in the course of ultimate extinction--placed
where our fathers originally placed it--I wish to annihilate the State
Legislatures--to force cotton to grow upon the tops of the Green
Mountains--to freeze ice in Florida--to cut lumber on the broad Illinois
prairies--that I am in favor of all these ridiculous and impossible
things! It seems to me it is a complete answer to all this, to ask if,
when Congress did have the fashion of restricting Slavery from Free
Territory; when Courts did have the fashion of deciding that taking a
Slave into a Free, Country made him Free--I say it is a sufficient
answer to ask, if any of this ridiculous nonsense, about consolidation
and uniformity, did actually follow? Who heard of any such thing,
because of the Ordinance of '87? because of the Missouri Restriction
because of the numerous Court decisions of that character?

"Now, as to the Dred Scott decision; for upon that he makes his last
point at me. He boldly takes ground in favor of that decision. This is
one-half the onslaught and one-third of the entire plan of the campaign.
I am opposed to that decision in a certain sense, but not in the sense
which he puts on it. I say that in so far as it decided in favor of
Dred Scott's master, and against Dred Scott and his family, I do not
propose to disturb or resist the decision. I never have proposed to do
any such thing. I think, that in respect for judicial authority, my
humble history would not suffer in comparison with that of Judge
Douglas. He would have the citizen conform his vote to that decision;
the member of Congress, his; the President, his use of the veto power.
He would make it a rule of political action for the People and all the
departments of the Government. I would not. By resisting it as a
political rule, I disturb no right of property, create no disorder,
excite no mobs."

After quoting from a letter of Mr. Jefferson (vol. vii., p. 177, of his
Correspondence,) in which he held that "to consider the judges as the
ultimate arbiters of all Constitutional questions," is "a very dangerous
doctrine indeed; and one which would place us under the despotism of an
Oligarchy," Mr. Lincoln continued: "Let us go a little further. You
remember we once had a National Bank. Some one owed the Bank a debt; he
was sued, and sought to avoid payment on the ground that the Bank was
unconstitutional. The case went to the Supreme Court, and therein it
was decided that the Bank was Constitutional. The whole Democratic
party revolted against that decision. General Jackson himself asserted
that he, as President, would not be bound to hold a National Bank to be
Constitutional, even though the Court had decided it to be so. He fell
in, precisely, with the view of Mr. Jefferson, and acted upon it under
his official oath, in vetoing a charter for a National Bank.

"The declaration that Congress does not possess this Constitutional
power to charter a Bank, has gone into the Democratic platform, at their
National Conventions, and was brought forward and reaffirmed in their
last Convention at Cincinnati. They have contended for that
declaration, in the very teeth of the Supreme Court, for more than a
quarter of a century. In fact, they have reduced the decision to an
absolute nullity. That decision, I repeat, is repudiated in the
Cincinnati platform; and still, as if to show that effrontery can go no
further, Judge Douglas vaunts in the very speeches in which he denounces
me for opposing the Dred Scott decision, that he stands on the
Cincinnati platform.

"Now, I wish to know what the Judge can charge upon me, with respect to
decisions of the Supreme Court, which does not lie in all its length,
breadth, and proportions, at his own door? The plain truth is simply
this: Judge Douglas is for Supreme Court decisions when he likes, and
against them when he does not like them. He is for the Dred Scott
decision because it tends to Nationalize Slavery--because it is a part
of the original combination for that object. It so happens, singularly
enough, that I never stood opposed to a decision of the Supreme Court
till this. On the contrary, I have no recollection that he was ever
particularly in favor of one till this. He never was in favor of any,
nor (I) opposed to any, till the present one, which helps to Nationalize
Slavery. Free men of Sangamon--Free men of Illinois, Free men
everywhere--judge ye between him and me, upon this issue!

"He says this Dred Scott case is a very small matter at
most--that it has no practical effect; that at best, or rather I suppose
at worst, it is but an abstraction. * * * How has the planting of
Slavery in new countries always been effected? It has now been decided
that Slavery cannot be kept out of our new Territories by any legal
means. In what do our new Territories now differ in this respect from
the old Colonies when Slavery was first planted within them?

"It was planted, as Mr. Clay once declared, and as history proves true,
by individual men in spite of the wishes of the people; the
Mother-Government refusing to prohibit it, and withholding from the
People of the Colonies the authority to prohibit it for themselves. Mr.
Clay says this was one of the great and just causes of complaint against
Great Britain by the Colonies, and the best apology we can now make for
having the institution amongst us. In that precise condition our
Nebraska politicians have at last succeeded in placing our own new
Territories; the Government will not prohibit Slavery within them, nor
allow the People to prohibit it."

Alluding to that part of Mr. Douglas's speech the previous night
touching the death-bed scene of Mr. Clay, with Mr. Douglas's promise to
devote the remainder of his life to "Popular Sovereignty"--and to his
relations with Mr. Webster--Mr. Lincoln said: "It would be amusing, if
it were not disgusting, to see how quick these Compromise breakers
administer on the political effects of their dead adversaries. If I
should be found dead to-morrow morning, nothing but my insignificance
could prevent a speech being made on my authority, before the end of
next week. It so happens that in that 'Popular Sovereignty' with which
Mr. Clay was identified, the Missouri Compromise was expressly reserved;
and it was a little singular if Mr. Clay cast his mantle upon Judge
Douglas on purpose to have that Compromise repealed. Again, the Judge
did not keep faith with Mr. Clay when he first brought in the Nebraska
Bill. He left the Missouri Compromise unrepealed, and in his report
accompanying the Bill, he told the World he did it on purpose. The
manes of Mr. Clay must have been in great agony, till thirty days later,
when 'Popular Sovereignty' stood forth in all its glory."

Touching Mr. Douglas's allegations of Mr. Lincoln's disposition to make
Negroes equal with the Whites, socially and politically, the latter
said: "My declarations upon this subject of Negro Slavery may be
misrepresented, but cannot be misunderstood. I have said that I do not
understand the Declaration (of Independence) to mean that all men were
created equal in all respects. They are not equal in color; but I
suppose that it does mean to declare that all men are equal in some
respects; they are equal in their right to 'Life, Liberty, and the
pursuit of Happiness.' Certainly the Negro is not our equal in color
--perhaps not in many other respects; still, in the right to put into his
mouth the bread that his own hands have earned, he is the equal of every
other man, White or Black. In pointing out that more has been given
you, you cannot be justified in taking away the little which has been
given him. All I ask for the Negro is that if you do not like him, let
him alone. If God gave him but little, that little let him enjoy.

"The framers of the Constitution," continued Mr. Lincoln, "found the
institution of Slavery amongst their other institutions at the time.
They found that by an effort to eradicate it, they might lose much of
what they had already gained. They were obliged to bow to the
necessity. They gave Congress power to abolish the Slave Trade at the
end of twenty years. They also prohibited it in the Territories where
it did not exist. They did what they could, and yielded to the
necessity for the rest. I also yield to all which follows from that
necessity. What I would most desire would be the separation of the
White and Black races."

Mr. Lincoln closed his speech by referring to the "New Departure" of
the Democracy--to the charge he had made, in his 16th of June speech,
touching "the existence of a Conspiracy to Perpetuate and Nationalize
Slavery"--which Mr. Douglas had not contradicted--and, said he, "on his
own tacit admission I renew that charge. I charge him with having been
a party to that Conspiracy, and to that deception, for the sole purpose
of Nationalizing Slavery."

This closed the series of preliminary speeches in the canvass. But they
only served to whet the moral and intellectual and political appetite of
the public for more. It was generally conceded that, at last, in the
person of Mr. Lincoln, the "Little Giant" had met his match.

On July 24, Mr. Lincoln opened a correspondence with Mr. Douglas,
which eventuated in an agreement between them, July 31st, for
joint-discussions, to take place at Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro,
Charleston, Galesburgh, Quincy, and Alton, on fixed dates in August,
September and October--at Ottawa, Mr. Douglas to open and speak one
hour, Mr. Lincoln to have an hour and a half in reply, and Mr. Douglas
to close in a half hour's speech; at Freeport, Mr. Lincoln to open and
speak for one hour, Mr. Douglas to take the next hour and a half in
reply, and Mr. Lincoln to have the next half hour to close; and so on,
alternating at each successive place, making twenty-one hours of joint
political debate.

To these absorbingly interesting discussions, vast assemblages listened
with breathless attention; and to the credit of all parties be it said,
with unparalleled decorum. The People evidently felt that the greatest
of all political principles--that of Human Liberty--was hanging on the
issue of this great political contest between intellectual giants, thus
openly waged before the World--and they accordingly rose to the dignity
and solemnity of the occasion, vindicating by their very example the
sacredness with which the Right of Free Speech should be regarded at all
times and everywhere.



The immediate outcome of the remarkable joint-debate between the two
intellectual giants of Illinois was, that while the popular vote stood
124,698 for Lincoln, to 121,130 for Douglas--showing a victory for
Lincoln among the People--yet, enough Douglas-Democrats were elected to
the Legislature, when added to those of his friends in the Illinois
Senate, who had been elected two years before, and "held over," to give
him, in all, 54 members of both branches of the Legislature on joint
ballot, against 46 for Mr. Lincoln. Lincoln had carried the people, but
Douglas had secured the Senatorial prize for which they had striven--and
by that Legislative vote was elected to succeed himself in the United
States Senate. This result was trumpeted throughout the Union as a
great Douglas victory.

During the canvass of Illinois, Douglas's friends had seen to it that
nothing on their part should be wanting to secure success. What with
special car trains, and weighty deputations, and imposing processions,
and flag raisings, the inspiration of music, the booming of cannon, and
the eager shouts of an enthusiastic populace, his political journey
through Illinois had been more like a Royal Progress than anything the
Country had yet seen; and now that his reelection was accomplished, they
proposed to make the most of it--to extend, as it were, the sphere of
his triumph, or vindication, so that it would include not the State
alone, but the Nation--and thus so accentuate and enhance his
availability as a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination
of 1860, as to make his nomination and election to the Presidency of the
United States an almost foregone conclusion.

The programme was to raise so great a popular tidal-wave in his
interest, as would bear him irresistibly upon its crest to the White
House. Accordingly, as the idol of the Democratic popular heart,
Douglas, upon his return to the National Capital, was triumphantly
received by the chief cities of the Mississippi and the Atlantic
sea-board. Hailed as victor in the great political contest in Illinois
--upon the extended newspaper reports of which, the absorbed eyes of the
entire nation, for months, had greedily fed--Douglas was received with
much ostentation and immense enthusiasm at St. Louis, Memphis, New
Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. Like the
"Triumphs" decreed by Rome, in her grandest days, to the greatest of her
victorious heroes, Douglas's return was a series of magnificent popular

In a speech made two years before this period, Mr. Lincoln, while
contrasting his own political career with that of Douglas, and modestly
describing his own as "a flat failure" had said: "With him it has been
one of splendid success. His name fills the Nation, and is not unknown
even in foreign lands. I affect no contempt for the high eminence he
has reached. So reached, that the oppressed of my species might have
shared with me in the elevation, I would rather stand on that eminence
than wear the richest crown that ever pressed a monarch's brow." And
now the star of Douglas had reached a higher altitude, nearing its
meridian splendor. He had become the popular idol of the day.

But Douglas's partial victory--if such it was--so far from settling the
public mind and public conscience, had the contrary effect. It added to
the ferment which the Pro-Slavery Oligarchists of the South--and
especially those of South Carolina--were intent upon increasing, until
so grave and serious a crisis should arrive as would, in their opinion,
furnish a justifiable pretext in the eyes of the World for the
contemplated Secession of the Slave States from the Union.

Under the inspiration of the Slave Power, and in the direct line of the
Dred Scott decision, and of the "victorious" doctrine of Senator
Douglas, which he held not inconsistent therewith, that the people of
any Territory of the United States could do as they pleased as to the
institution of Slavery within their own limits, and if they desired the
institution, they had the right by local legislation to "protect and
encourage it," the Legislature of the Territory of New Mexico at once
(1859) proceeded to enact a law "for the protection of property in
Slaves," and other measures similar to the prevailing Slave Codes in the
Southern States.

The aggressive attitude of the South--as thus evidenced anew--naturally
stirred, to their very core, the Abolition elements of the North; on the
other hand, the publication of Hinton Rowan Helper's "Impending Crisis,"
which handled the Slavery question without gloves, and supported its
views with statistics which startled the Northern mind, together with
its alleged indorsement by the leading Republicans of the North,
exasperated the fiery Southrons to an intense degree. Nor was the
capture, in October, 1859, of Harper's Ferry, Virginia, by John Brown
and his handful of Northern Abolitionist followers, and his subsequent
execution in Virginia, calculated to allay the rapidly intensifying
feeling between the Freedom-loving North and the Slaveholding South.
When, therefore, the Congress met, in December, 1859, the sectional
wrath of the Country was reflected in the proceedings of both branches
of that body, and these again reacted upon the People of both the
Northern and Southern States, until the fires of Slavery Agitation were
stirred to a white heat.

The bitterness of feeling in the House at this time, was shown, in part,
by the fact that not until the 1st of February, 1860, was it able, upon
a forty-fourth ballot, to organize by the election of a Speaker, and
that from the day of its meeting on the 5th of December, 1859, up to
such organization, it was involved in an incessant and stormy wrangle
upon the Slavery question.

So also in the Democratic Senate, the split in the Democratic Party,
between the Lecompton and Anti-Lecompton Democracy, was widened, at the
same time that the Republicans of the North were further irritated, by
the significantly decisive passage of a series of resolutions proposed
by Jefferson Davis, which, on the one hand, purposely and deliberately
knifed Douglas's "Popular Sovereignty" doctrine and read out of the
Party all who believed in it, by declaring "That neither Congress nor a
Territorial Legislature, whether by direct legislation, or legislation
of an indirect and unfriendly character, possesses power to annul or
impair the Constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to
take his Slave-property into the common Territories, and there hold and
enjoy the same while the Territorial condition remains," and, on the
other, purposely and deliberately slapped in the face the Republicans of
the North, by declaring-among other things "That in the adoption of the
Federal Constitution, the States adopting the same, acted severally as
Free and Independent sovereignties, delegating a portion of their powers
to be exercised by the Federal Government for the increased security of
each against dangers, domestic as well as foreign; and that any
intermeddling by any one or more States or by a combination of their
citizens, with the domestic institutions of the others, on any pretext
whatever, political, moral, or religious, with a view to their
disturbance or subversion, is in violation of the Constitution,
insulting to the States so interfered with, endangers their domestic
peace and tranquillity--objects for which the Constitution was formed
--and, by necessary consequence, tends to weaken and destroy the Union

Another of these resolutions declared Negro Slavery to be recognized in
the Constitution, and that all "open or covert attacks thereon with a
view to its overthrow," made either by the Non-Slave-holding States or
their citizens, violated the pledges of the Constitution, "are a
manifest breach of faith, and a violation of the most solemn

This last was intended as a blow at the Freedom of Speech and of the
Press in the North; and only served, as was doubtless intended, to still
more inflame Northern public feeling, while at the same time endeavoring
to place the arrogant and aggressive Slave Power in an attitude of
injured innocence. In short, the time of both Houses of Congress was
almost entirely consumed during the Session of 1859-60 in the heated,
and sometimes even furious, discussion of the Slavery question; and
everywhere, North and South, the public mind was not alone deeply
agitated, but apprehensive that the Union was founded not upon a rock,
but upon the crater of a volcano, whose long-smouldering energies might
at any moment burst their confines, and reduce it to ruin and

On the 23rd of April, 1860, the Democratic National Convention met at
Charleston, South Carolina. It was several days after the permanent
organization of the Convention before the Committee on Resolutions
reported to the main body, and not until the 30th of April did it reach
a vote upon the various reports, which had in the meantime been
modified. The propositions voted upon were three:

First, The Majority Report of the Committee, which reaffirmed the
Cincinnati platform of 1856--with certain "explanatory" resolutions
added, which boldly proclaimed: That the Government of a Territory
organized by an Act of Congress, is provisional and temporary; and,
during its existence, all citizens of the United States have an equal
right to settle with their property in the Territory, without their
rights, either of person or property, being destroyed or impaired by
Congressional or Territorial Legislation;" that "it is the duty of the
Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect, when necessary,
the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else
its Constitutional authority extends;" that "when the settlers in a
Territory, having an adequate population, form a State Constitution, the
right of Sovereignty commences, and, being consummated by admission into
the Union, they stand on an equal footing with the people of other
States, and the State thus organized ought to be admitted into the
Federal Union, whether its Constitution prohibits or recognizes the
institution of Slavery;" and that "the enactments of State Legislatures
to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, are hostile
in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in
effect." The resolutions also included a declaration in favor of the
acquisition of Cuba, and other comparatively minor matters.

Second, The Minority Report of the Committee, which, after re-affirming
the Cincinnati platform, declared that "Inasmuch as differences of
opinion exist in the Democratic party as to the nature and extent of the
powers of a Territorial Legislature, and as to the powers and duties of
Congress, under the Constitution of the United States, over the
institution of Slavery within the Territories * * * the Democratic Party
will abide by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States on
the questions of Constitutional law."

Third, The recommendation of Benjamin F. Butler, that the platform
should consist simply of a re-affirmation of the Cincinnati platform,
and not another word.

The last proposition was first voted on, and lost, by 105 yeas to 198
nays. The Minority platform was then adopted by 165 yeas to 138 nays.

The aggressive Slave-holders (Majority) platform, and the Butler
Compromise do-nothing proposition, being both defeated, and the Douglas
(Minority) platform adopted, the Alabama delegation, under instructions
from their State Convention to withdraw in case the National Convention
refused to adopt radical Territorial Pro-Slavery resolutions, at once
presented a written protest and withdrew from the Convention, and were
followed, in rapid succession, by; the delegates from Mississippi,
Louisiana (all but two), South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Arkansas (in
part), Delaware (mostly), and Georgia (mostly)--the seceding delegates
afterwards organizing in another Hall, adopting the above Majority
platform, and after a four days' sitting, adjourning to meet at
Richmond, Virginia, on the 11th of June.

Meanwhile, the Regular Democratic National Convention had proceeded to
ballot for President--after adopting the two-thirds rule. Thirty-seven
ballots having been cast, that for Stephen A. Douglas being, on the
thirty-seventh, 151, the Convention, on the 3d of May, adjourned to meet
again at Baltimore, June 18th.

After re-assembling, and settling contested election cases, the
delegates (in whole or in part) from Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, California, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Massachusetts,
withdrew from the Convention, the latter upon the ground mainly that
there had been "a withdrawal, in part, of a majority of the States,"
while Butler, who had voted steadily for Jefferson Davis throughout all
the balloting at Charleston, gave as an additional ground personal to
himself, that "I will not sit in a convention where the African Slave
Trade--which is piracy by the laws of my Country--is approvingly
advocated"--referring thereby to a speech, that had been much applauded
by the Convention at Charleston, made by a Georgia delegate (Gaulden),
in which that delegate had said: "I would ask my friends of the South to
come up in a proper spirit; ask our Northern friends to give us all our
rights, and take off the ruthless restrictions which cut off the supply
of Slaves from foreign lands. * * * I tell you, fellow Democrats, that
the African Slave Trader is the true Union man (cheers and laughter). I
tell you that the Slave Trading of Virginia is more immoral, more
unchristian in every possible point of view, than that African Slave
Trade which goes to Africa and brings a heathen and worthless man here,
makes him a useful man, Christianizes him, and sends him and his
posterity down the stream of Time, to enjoy the blessings of
civilization. (Cheers and laughter.) * * * I come from the first
Congressional District of Georgia. I represent the African Slave Trade
interest of that Section. (Applause.) I am proud of the position I
occupy in that respect. I believe that the African Slave Trader is a
true missionary, and a true Christian. (Applause.) * * * Are you
prepared to go back to first principles, and take off your
unconstitutional restrictions, and leave this question to be settled by
each State? Now, do this, fellow citizens, and you will have Peace in
the Country. * * * I advocate the repeal of the laws prohibiting the
African Slave Trade, because I believe it to be the true Union movement.
* * * I believe that by re-opening this Trade and giving us Negroes to
populate the Territories, the equilibrium of the two Sections will be

After the withdrawal of the bolting delegates at Baltimore, the
Convention proceeded to ballot for President, and at the end of the
second ballot, Mr. Douglas having received "two-thirds of all votes
given in the Convention" (183) was declared the "regular nominee of the
Democratic Party, for the office of President of the United States."

An additional resolution was subsequently adopted as a part of the
platform, declaring that "it is in accordance with the true
interpretation of the Cincinnati platform, that, during the existence of
the Territorial Governments, the measure of restriction, whatever it may
be, imposed by the Federal Constitution on the power of the Territorial
Legislatures over the subject of the domestic relations, as the same has
been, or shall hereafter be, finally determined by the Supreme Court of
the United States, should be respected by all good citizens, and
enforced with promptness and fidelity by every branch of the General

On the 11th of June, pursuant to adjournment, the Democratic Bolters'
Convention met at Richmond, and, after adjourning to meet at Baltimore,
finally met there on the 28th of that month--twenty-one States being, in
whole or in part, represented. This Convention unanimously readopted
the Southern-wing platform it had previously adopted at Charleston, and,
upon the first ballot, chose, without dissent, John C. Breckinridge of
Kentucky, as its candidate for the Presidential office.

In the meantime, however, the National Conventions of other Parties had
been held, viz.: that of the Republican Party at Chicago, which, with a
session of three days, May 16-18, had nominated Abraham Lincoln of
Illinois and Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, for President and Vice-President
respectively; and that of the "Constitutional Union" (or Native
American) Party which had severally nominated (May 19) for such
positions, John Bell of Tennessee, and Edward Everett of Massachusetts.

The material portion of the Republican National platform, adopted with
entire unanimity by their Convention, was, so far as the Slavery and
Disunion questions were concerned, comprised in these declarations:

First, That the history of the nation, during the last four years, has
fully established the propriety and necessity of the organization and
perpetuation of the Republican Party; and that the causes which called
it into existence are permanent in their nature, and now, more than ever
before, demand its peaceful and Constitutional triumph.

Second, That the maintenance of the principle, promulgated in the
Declaration of Independence, and embodied in the Federal Constitution,
"that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain inalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and
the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed," is essential to the preservation of our Republican
institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the Rights of the
States, and the Union of the States must and shall be preserved.

Third, That to the Union of the States, this Nation owes its
unprecedented increase in population, its surprising development of
material resources, its rapid augmentation of wealth, its happiness at
home, and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for
Disunion, come from whatever source they may: And we congratulate the
Country that no Republican member of Congress has uttered or
countenanced the threats of Disunion, so often made by Democratic
members, without rebuke, and with applause, from their political
associates; and we denounce those threats of Disunion, in case of a
popular overthrow of their ascendancy, as denying the vital principles
of a free Government, and as an avowal of contemplated Treason, which it
is the imperative duty of an indignant People, sternly to rebuke and
forever silence.

Fourth, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and
especially the right of each State, to order and control its own
domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is
essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and
endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless
invasion, by armed force, of any State or Territory, no matter under
what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

Fifth, That the present Democratic Administration has far exceeded our
worst apprehensions, in its measureless subserviency to the exactions of
a Sectional interest, as especially evinced in its desperate exertions
to force the infamous Lecompton Constitution upon the protesting people
of Kansas; in construing the personal relation between master and
servant to involve an unqualified property in persons; in its attempted
enforcement, everywhere, on land and sea, through the intervention of
Congress and of the Federal Courts, of the extreme pretensions of a
purely local interest; and in its general and unvarying abuse of the
power intrusted to it by a confiding People.

* * * * * * *

Seventh, That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force,
carries Slavery into any or all of the Territories of the United States,
is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit
provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition,
and with legislation and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its
tendency and subversive of the peace and harmony of the Country.

Eighth, That the normal condition of all the territory of the United
States is that of Freedom; that as our Republican fathers, when they had
abolished Slavery in all our National Territory, ordained that "No
person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due
process of law," it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such
legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution
against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of
Congress, of a Territorial Legislature, or of any individuals, to give
legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States.

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