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The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Complete by Abraham Lincoln

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oppose him on that proposition. I repeat, there is nobody
opposing that proposition on principle. Let me not be
misunderstood. I know that, with reference to the Lecompton
Constitution, I may be misunderstood; but when you understand me
correctly, my proposition will be true and accurate. Nobody is
opposing, or has opposed, the right of the people, when they form
a 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.

The dispute was upon the question of fact, whether the Lecompton
Constitution had been fairly formed by the people or not. Mr.
Buchanan and his friends have not contended for the contrary
principle any more than the Douglas men or the Republicans. They
have insisted that whatever of small irregularities existed in
getting up the Lecompton Constitution were such as happen in the
settlement of all new Territories. The question was, Was it a
fair emanation of the people? It was a question of fact, and not
of principle. 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. With respect to the evidence bearing upon that question of
fact, I readily agree that Judge Douglas and the Republicans had
the right on their side, and that the Administration was wrong.
But I state again that, as a matter of principle, there is no
dispute upon the right of a people in a Territory, merging into a
State, to form a constitution for themselves without outside
interference from any quarter. 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 nobody 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?
Now something in regard to the Lecompton Constitution more
specially; for I pass from this other question of popular
sovereignty as the most arrant humbug that has ever been
attempted on an intelligent community.

As to the Lecompton Constitution, I have already said that on the
question of fact, as to whether it was a fair emanation of the
people or not, Judge Douglas, with the Republicans and some
Americans, had greatly the argument against the Administration;
and while I repeat this, I wish to know what there is in the
opposition of Judge Douglas to the Lecompton Constitution that
entitles him to be considered the only opponent to it,--as being
par excellence the very quintessence of that opposition. I agree
to the rightfulness of his opposition. He in the Senate and his
class of men there formed the number three and no more. In the
House of Representatives his class of men--the Anti-Lecompton
Democrats--formed a number of about twenty. It took one hundred
and twenty to defeat the measure, against one hundred and twelve.
Of the votes of that one hundred and twenty, Judge Douglas's
friends furnished twenty, to add to which there were six
Americans and ninety-four Republicans. I do not say that I am
precisely accurate in their numbers, but I am sufficiently so for
any use I am making of it.

Why is it that twenty shall be entitled to all the credit of
doing that work, and the hundred none of it? Why, if, as Judge
Douglas says, the honor is to be divided and due credit is to be
given to other parties, why is just so much given as is consonant
with the wishes, the interests, and advancement of the twenty?
My understanding is, when a common job is done, or a common
enterprise prosecuted, if I put in five dollars to your one, I
have a right to take out five dollars to your one. But he does
not so understand it. He declares the dividend of credit for
defeating Lecompton upon a basis which seems unprecedented and

Let us see. Lecompton in the raw was defeated. It afterward
took a sort of cooked-up shape, and was passed in the English
bill. It is said by the Judge that the defeat was a good and
proper thing. If it was a good thing, why is he entitled to more
credit than others for the performance of that good act, unless
there was something in the antecedents of the Republicans that
might induce every one to expect them to join in that good work,
and at the same time something leading them to doubt that he
would? Does he place his superior claim to credit on the ground
that he performed a good act which was never expected of him? He
says I have a proneness for quoting Scripture. If I should do so
now, it occurs that perhaps he places himself somewhat upon the
ground of the parable of the lost sheep which went astray upon
the mountains, and when the owner of the hundred sheep found the
one that was lost, and threw it upon his shoulders and came home
rejoicing, it was 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. 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.

How will he prove that we have ever occupied a different position
in regard to the Lecompton Constitution or any principle in it?
He says he did not make his opposition on the ground as to
whether it was a free or slave constitution, and he would have
you understand that the Republicans made their opposition because
it ultimately became a slave constitution. To make proof in
favor of himself on this point, he reminds us that he opposed
Lecompton before the vote was taken declaring whether the State
was to be free or slave. But he forgets to say that our
Republican Senator, Trumbull, made a speech against Lecompton
even before he did.

Why did he oppose it? Partly, as he declares, because the
members of the convention who framed it were not fairly elected
by the people; that the people were not allowed to vote unless
they had been registered; and that the people of whole counties,
some instances, were not registered. For these reasons he
declares the Constitution was not an emanation, in any true
sense, from the people. He also has an additional objection as
to the mode of submitting the Constitution back to the people.
But bearing on the question of whether the delegates were fairly
elected, a speech of his, made something more than twelve months
ago, from this stand, becomes important. It was made a little
while before the election of the delegates who made Lecompton.
In that speech he declared there was every reason to hope and
believe the election would be fair; and if any one failed to
vote, it would be his own culpable fault.

I, a few days after, made a sort of answer to that speech. In
that answer I made, substantially, the very argument with which
he combated his Lecompton adversaries in the Senate last winter.
I pointed to the facts that the people could not vote without
being registered, and that the time for registering had gone by.
I commented on it as wonderful that Judge Douglas could be
ignorant of these facts which every one else in the nation so
well knew.

I now pass from popular sovereignty and Lecompton. I may have
occasion to refer to one or both.

When he was preparing his plan of campaign, Napoleon-like, in New
York, as appears by two speeches I have heard him deliver since
his arrival in Illinois, he gave special attention to a speech of
mine, delivered here on the 16th of June last. He says that he
carefully read that speech. He told us that at Chicago a week
ago last night and he repeated it at Bloomington last night.
Doubtless, he repeated it again to-day, though I did not hear
him. In the first two places--Chicago and Bloomington I heard
him; to-day I did not. He said he had carefully examined that
speech,--when, he did not say; but there is no reasonable doubt
it was when he was in New York preparing his plan of campaign. I
am glad he did read it carefully. He says it was evidently
prepared with great care. I freely admit it was prepared with
care. I claim not to be more free from errors than others,--
perhaps scarcely so much; but I was very careful not to put
anything in that speech as a matter of fact, or make any
inferences, which did not appear to me to be true and fully
warrantable. If I had made any mistake, I was willing to be
corrected; if I had drawn any inference in regard to Judge
Douglas or any one else which was not warranted, I was fully
prepared to modify it as soon as discovered. I planted myself
upon the truth and the truth only, so far as I knew it, or could
be brought to know it.

Having made that speech with the most kindly feelings toward
Judge Douglas, as manifested therein, I was gratified when I
found that he had carefully examined it, and had detected no
error of fact, nor any inference against him, nor any
misrepresentations of which he thought fit to complain. In
neither of the two speeches I have mentioned did he make any such
complaint. I will thank any one who will inform me that he, in
his speech to-day, pointed out anything I had stated respecting
him as being erroneous. I presume there is no such thing. I
have reason to be gratified that the care and caution used in
that speech left it so that he, most of all others interested in
discovering error, has not been able to point out one thing
against him which he could say was wrong. He seizes upon the
doctrines he supposes to be included in that speech, and declares
that upon them will turn the issues of this campaign. He then
quotes, or attempts to quote, from my speech. I will not say
that he wilfully misquotes, but he does fail to quote accurately.
His attempt at quoting is from a passage which I believe I can
quote accurately from memory. I shall make the quotation now,
with some comments upon it, as I have already said, in order that
the Judge shall be left entirely without excuse for
misrepresenting me. I do so now, as I hope, for the last time.
I do this in great caution, in order that if he repeats his
misrepresentation it shall be plain to all that he does so
wilfully. If, after all, he still persists, I shall be compelled
to reconstruct the course I have marked out for myself, and draw
upon such humble resources, as I have, for a new course, better
suited to the real exigencies of the case. I set out in this
campaign with the intention of conducting it strictly as a
gentleman, in substance at least, if not in the outside polish.
The latter I shall never be; but that which constitutes the
inside of a gentleman I hope I understand, and am not less
inclined to practice than others. It was my purpose and
expectation that this canvass would be conducted upon principle,
and with fairness on both sides, and it shall not be my fault if
this purpose and expectation shall be given up.

He charges, in substance, that I invite a war of sections; that I
propose all the local institutions of the different States shall
become consolidated and uniform. What is there in the language
of that speech which expresses such purpose or bears such
construction? I have again and again said that I would not enter
into any of the States to disturb the institution of slavery.
Judge Douglas said, at Bloomington, that I used language most
able and ingenious for concealing what I really meant; and that
while I had protested against entering into the slave States, I
nevertheless did mean to go on the banks of the Ohio and throw
missiles into Kentucky, to disturb them in their domestic

I said in that speech, and I meant no more, that the institution
of slavery ought to be placed in the very attitude where the
framers of this government placed it and left it. I do not
understand that the framers of our Constitution left the people
of the free States in the attitude of firing bombs or shells into
the slave States. I was not using that passage for the purpose
for which he infers I did use it. I said:

"We are now far advanced into the fifth year since a policy was
created for the avowed object and with the 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 till a crisis shall
have been reached and passed. 'A house divided against itself
cannot stand.' I believe that this government cannot endure
permanently half slave and half free; 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 South."

Now, you all see, from that quotation, I did not express my wish
on anything. In that passage I indicated no wish or purpose of
my own; I simply expressed my expectation. Cannot the Judge
perceive a distinction between a purpose and an expectation? I
have often expressed an expectation to die, but I have never
expressed a wish to die. I said at Chicago, and now repeat, that
I am quite aware this government has endured, half slave and half
free, for eighty-two years. I understand that little bit of
history. I expressed the opinion I did because I perceived--or
thought I perceived--a new set of causes introduced. I did say
at Chicago, in my speech there, that I do 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. 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 will 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. It is denied that there is
any tendency to the nationalization of slavery in these States.

Mr. Brooks, of South Carolina, in one of his speeches, when they
were presenting him canes, silver plate, gold pitchers, and the
like, for assaulting Senator Sumner, distinctly affirmed his
opinion that when this Constitution was formed it was the belief
of no man that slavery would last to the present day. He said,
what I think, that the framers of our Constitution placed the
institution of slavery where the public mind rested in the hope
that it was in the course of ultimate extinction. But he went on
to say that the men of the present age, by their experience, have
become wiser than the framers of the Constitution, and the
invention of the cotton gin had made the perpetuity of slavery a
necessity in this country.

As another piece of evidence tending to this same point: Quite
recently in Virginia, a man--the owner of slaves--made a will
providing that after his death certain of his slaves should have
their freedom if they should so choose, and go to Liberia, rather
than remain in slavery. They chose to be liberated. But the
persons to whom they would descend as property claimed them as
slaves. A suit was instituted, which finally came to the Supreme
Court of Virginia, and was therein decided against the slaves
upon the ground that a negro cannot make a choice; that they had
no legal power to choose, could not perform the condition upon
which their freedom depended.

I do not mention this with any purpose of criticizing it, but to
connect it with the arguments as affording additional evidence of
the change of sentiment upon this question of slavery in the
direction of making it perpetual and national. I argue now as I
did before, that there is such a tendency; and I am backed, not
merely by the facts, but by the open confession in the slave

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 prairie,--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

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 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.

When he spoke at Chicago, on Friday evening of last week, he made
this same point upon me. On Saturday evening I replied, and
reminded him of a Supreme Court decision which he opposed for at
least several years. Last night, at Bloomington, he took some
notice of that reply, but entirely forgot to remember that part
of it.

He renews his onslaught upon me, forgetting to remember that I
have turned the tables against himself on that very point. I
renew the effort to draw his attention to it. I wish to stand
erect before the country, as well as Judge Douglas, on this
question of judicial authority; and therefore I add something to
the authority in favor of my own position. I wish to show that I
am sustained by authority, in addition to that heretofore
presented. I do not expect to convince the Judge. It is part of
the plan of his campaign, and he will cling to it with a
desperate grip. Even turn it upon him,--the sharp point against
him, and gaff him through,--he will still cling to it till he can
invent some new dodge to take the place of it.

In public speaking it is tedious reading from documents; but I
must beg to indulge the practice to a limited extent. I shall
read from a letter written by Mr. Jefferson in 1820, and now to
be found in the seventh volume of his correspondence, at page
177. It seems he had been presented by a gentleman of the name
of Jarvis with a book, or essay, or periodical, called the
Republican, and he was writing in acknowledgment of the present,
and noting some of its contents. After expressing the hope that
the work will produce a favorable effect upon the minds of the
young, he proceeds to say:

"That it will have this tendency may be expected, and for that
reason I feel an urgency to note what I deem an error in it, the
more requiring notice as your opinion is strengthened by that of
many others. You seem, in pages 84 and 148, to consider the
judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions,-
-a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us
under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as
other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same
passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.
Their maxim is, 'Boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem'; and
their power is the more dangerous as they are in office for life,
and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the
elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single
tribunal, knowing that, to whatever hands confided, with the
corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots.
It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and
co-sovereign with themselves."

Thus we see the power claimed for the Supreme Court by Judge
Douglas, Mr. Jefferson holds, would reduce us to the despotism of
an oligarchy.

Now, I have said no more than this,--in fact, never quite so much
as this; at least I am sustained by Mr. Jefferson.

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 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 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. I submit that the
proposition that the thing which determines whether a man is free
or a slave is rather concrete than abstract. I think you would
conclude that it was, if your liberty depended upon it, and so
would Judge Douglas, if his liberty depended upon it. But
suppose it was on the question of spreading slavery over the new
Territories that he considers it as being merely an abstract
matter, and one of no practical importance. 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.

I defy any man to find any difference between the policy which
originally planted slavery in these Colonies and that policy
which now prevails in our new Territories. If it does not go
into them, it is only because no individual wishes it to go. The
Judge indulged himself doubtless to-day with the question as to
what I am going to do with or about the Dred Scott decision.
Well, Judge, will you please tell me what you did about the bank
decision? Will you not graciously allow us to do with the Dred
Scott decision precisely as you did with the bank decision? You
succeeded in breaking down the moral effect of that decision: did
you find it necessary to amend the Constitution, or to set up a
court of negroes in order to do it?

There is one other point. Judge Douglas has a very affectionate
leaning toward the Americans and Old Whigs. Last evening, in a
sort of weeping tone, he described to us a death-bed scene. He
had been called to the side of Mr. Clay, in his last moments, in
order that the genius of "popular sovereignty" might duly descend
from the dying man and settle upon him, the living and most
worthy successor. He could do no less than promise that he would
devote the remainder of his life to "popular sovereignty"; and
then the great statesman departs in peace. By this part of the
"plan of the campaign" the Judge has evidently promised himself
that tears shall be drawn down the cheeks of all Old Whigs, as
large as half-grown apples.

Mr. Webster, too, was mentioned; but it did not quite come to a
death-bed scene as to him. 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, trumping up
claims never before heard of, and dividing the assets among
themselves. 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 reversed; 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 his 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.

One more thing. Last night Judge Douglas tormented himself with
horrors about my disposition to make negroes perfectly equal with
white men in social and political relations. He did not stop to
show that I have said any such thing, or that it legitimately
follows from anything I have said, but he rushes on with his
assertions. I adhere to the Declaration of Independence. If
Judge Douglas and his friends are not willing to stand by it, let
them come up and amend it. Let them make it read that all men
are created equal except negroes. Let us have it decided whether
the Declaration of Independence, in this blessed year of 1858,
shall be thus amended. In his construction of the Declaration
last year, he said it only meant that Americans in America were
equal to Englishmen in England. Then, when I pointed out to him
that by that rule he excludes the Germans, the Irish, the
Portuguese, and all the other people who have come among us since
the revolution, he reconstructs his construction. In his last
speech he tells us it meant Europeans.

I press him a little further, and ask if it meant to include the
Russians in Asia; or does he mean to exclude that vast population
from the principles of our Declaration of Independence? I expect
ere long he will introduce another amendment to his definition.
He is not at all particular. He is satisfied with anything which
does not endanger the nationalizing of negro slavery. It may
draw white men down, but it must not lift negroes up.

Who shall say, "I am the superior, and you are the inferior"?

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 to mean that all men were
created equal in all respects. They are not our 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.

When our government was established we had the institution of
slavery among us. We were in a certain sense compelled to
tolerate its existence. It was a sort of necessity. We had gone
through our struggle and secured our own independence. The
framers of the Constitution found the institution of slavery
amongst their own 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 power to Congress 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.

One more point on this Springfield speech which Judge Douglas
says he has read so carefully. I expressed my belief in the
existence of a conspiracy to perpetuate and nationalize slavery.
I did not profess to know it, nor do I now. I showed the part
Judge Douglas had played in the string of facts constituting to
my mind the proof of that conspiracy. I showed the parts played
by others.

I charged that the people had been deceived into carrying the
last Presidential election, by the impression that the people of
the Territories might exclude slavery if they chose, when it was
known in advance by the conspirators that the court was to decide
that neither Congress nor the people could so exclude slavery.
These charges are more distinctly made than anything else in the

Judge Douglas has carefully read and reread that speech. He has
not, so far as I know, contradicted those charges. In the two
speeches which I heard he certainly did not. On this 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.


[The following is the correspondence between the two rival
candidates for the United States Senate]


CHICAGO, ILL., July 24, 1558.


My dear Sir,--Will it be agreeable to you to make an arrangement
for you and myself to divide time, and address the same audiences
the present canvass? Mr. Judd, who will hand you this, is
authorized to receive your answer; and, if agreeable to you, to
enter into the terms of such arrangement.

Your obedient servant,



BEMENT, PIATT Co., ILL., July 30, 1858.

Dear Sir,--Your letter dated yesterday, accepting my proposition
for a joint discussion at one prominent point in each
Congressional District, as stated in my previous letter, was
received this morning.

The times and places designated are as follows:

Ottawa, La Salle County August 21st, 1858.
Freeport, Stephenson County " 27th,
Jonesboro, Union County, September 15th,
Charleston, Coles County " 18th,
Galesburgh, Knox County October 7th,
Quincy, Adams County " 13th,
Alton, Madison County " 15th,

I agree to your suggestion that we shall alternately open and
close the discussion. I will speak at Ottawa one hour, you can
reply, occupying an hour and a half, and I will then follow for
half an hour. At Freeport, you shall open the discussion and
speak one hour; I will follow for an hour and a half, and you can
then reply for half an hour. We will alternate in like manner in
each successive place.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



SPRINGFIELD, July 31, 1858.


Dear Sir,--Yours of yesterday, naming places, times, and terms
for joint discussions between us, was received this morning.
Although, by the terms, as you propose, you take four openings
and closes, to my three, I accede, and thus close the
arrangement. I direct this to you at Hillsborough, and shall try
to have both your letter and this appear in the Journal and
Register of Monday morning.

Your obedient servant,



AUGUST 21, 1858


MY FELLOW-CITIZENS:--When a man hears himself somewhat
misrepresented, it provokes him, at least, I find it so with
myself; but when misrepresentation becomes very gross and
palpable, it is more apt to amuse him. The first thing I see fit
to notice is the fact that Judge Douglas alleges, after running
through the history of the old Democratic and the old Whig
parties, that Judge Trumbull and myself made an arrangement in
1854, by which I was to have the place of General Shields in the
United States Senate, and Judge Trumbull was to have the place of
Judge Douglas. Now, all I have to say upon that subject is that
I think no man not even Judge Douglas can prove it, because it is
not true. I have no doubt he is "conscientious" in saying it.
As to those resolutions that he took such a length of time to
read, as being the platform of the Republican party in 1854, I
say I never had anything to do with them, and I think Trumbull
never had. Judge Douglas cannot show that either of us ever did
have anything to do with them.

I believe this is true about those resolutions: There was a call
for a convention to form a Republican party at Springfield, and I
think that my friend Mr. Lovejoy, who is here upon this stand,
had a hand in it. I think this is true, and I think if he will
remember accurately he will be able to recollect that he tried to
get me into it, and I would not go in. I believe it is also true
that I went away from Springfield when the convention was in
session, to attend court in Tazewell county. It is true they did
place my name, though without authority, upon the committee, and
afterward wrote me to attend the meeting of the committee; but I
refused to do so, and I never had anything to do with that
organization. This is the plain truth about all that matter of
the resolutions.

Now, about this story that Judge Douglas tells of Trumbull
bargaining to sell out the old Democratic party, and Lincoln
agreeing to sell out the old Whig party, I have the means of
knowing about that: Judge Douglas cannot have; and I know there
is no substance to it whatever. Yet I have no doubt he is
"conscientious" about it. I know that after Mr. Lovejoy got into
the Legislature that winter, he complained of me that I had told
all the old Whigs of his district that the old Whig party was
good enough for them, and some of them voted against him because
I told them so. Now, I have no means of totally disproving such
charges as this which the Judge makes. A man cannot prove a
negative; but he has a right to claim that when a man makes an
affirmative charge, he must offer some proof to show the truth of
what he says. I certainly cannot introduce testimony to show the
negative about things, but I have a right to claim that if a man
says he knows a thing, then he must show how he knows it. I
always have a right to claim this, and it is not satisfactory to
me that he may be "conscientious" on the subject.

Now, gentlemen, I hate to waste my time on such things; but in
regard to that general Abolition tilt that Judge Douglas makes,
when he says that I was engaged at that time in selling out and
Abolitionizing the old Whig party, I hope you will permit me to
read a part of a printed speech that I made then at Peoria, which
will show altogether a different view of the position I took in
that contest of 1854.

[Voice: "Put on your specs."]

Mr. LINCOLN: Yes, sir, I am obliged to do so; I am no longer a
young man.

"This is the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. The foregoing
history may not be precisely accurate in every particular, but I
am sure it is sufficiently so for all the uses I shall attempt to
make of it, and in it we have before us the chief materials
enabling us to correctly judge whether the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise is right or wrong.

"I think, and shall try to show, that it is wrong--wrong in its
direct effect, letting slavery into Kansas and Nebraska, and
wrong in its prospective principle, allowing it to spread to
every other part of the wide world where men can be found
inclined to take it.

"This declared indifference, but, as I must think, covert real
zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate. I hate it
because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it
because it deprives our republican example of its just influence
in the world,--enables the enemies of free institutions, with
plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites; causes the real friends
of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it
forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war
with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty,
criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that
there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

"Before proceeding, let me say I think I have no prejudice
against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in
their situation. If slavery did not now exist among them, they
would not introduce it. If it did now exist among us, we should
not instantly give it up. This I believe of the masses north and
south. Doubtless there are individuals on both sides who would
not hold slaves under any circumstances; and others who would
gladly introduce slavery anew, if it were out of existence. We
know that some Southern men do free their slaves, go north, and
become tip-top Abolitionists; while some Northern ones go south
and become most cruel slave-masters.

"When Southern people tell us they are no more responsible for
the origin of slavery than we, I acknowledge the fact. When it
is said that the institution exists, and that it is very
difficult to get rid of it, in any satisfactory way, I can
understand and appreciate the saying. I will not blame them for
not doing what I should not know how to do myself. If all
earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do, as to
the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all
the slaves and send them to Liberia,--to their own native land.
But a moment's reflection would convince me that whatever of high
hope (as I think there is) there may be in this in the long term,
its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed
there in a day, they would all perish in the next ten days; and
there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough in the
world to carry them there in many times ten days. What then?
Free them all and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite
certain that this betters their condition? I think I would not
hold one in slavery, at any rate; yet the point is not clear
enough to me to denounce people upon. What next? Free them, and
make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings
will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that
those of the great mass of white people will not. Whether this
feeling accords with justice and sound judgment, is not the sole
question, if, indeed, it is any part of it. A universal feeling,
whether well or ill founded, cannot be safely disregarded. We
cannot, then, make them equals. It does seem to me that systems
of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but for their tardiness
in this I will not undertake to judge our brethren of the South.

"When they remind us of their constitutional rights, I
acknowledge them, not grudgingly, but fully and fairly; and I
would give them any legislation for the reclaiming of their
fugitives, which should not, in its stringency, be more likely to
carry a free man into slavery than Our ordinary criminal laws are
to hang an innocent one.

"But all this, to my judgment, furnishes no more excuse for
permitting slavery to go into our own free territory than it
would for reviving the African slave-trade by law. The law which
forbids the bringing of slaves from Africa, and that which has so
long forbid the taking of them to Nebraska, can hardly be
distinguished on any moral principle; and the repeal of the
former could find quite as plausible excuses as that of the

I have reason to know that Judge Douglas knows that I said this.
I think he has the answer here to one of the questions he put to
me. I do not mean to allow him to catechize me unless he pays
back for it in kind. I will not answer questions one after
another, unless he reciprocates; but as he has made this inquiry,
and I have answered it before, he has got it without my getting
anything in return. He has got my answer on the Fugitive Slave

Now, gentlemen, I don't want to read at any greater length; but
this is the true complexion of all I have ever said in regard to
the institution of slavery and the black race. This is the whole
of it; and anything that argues me into his idea of perfect
social and political equality with the negro is but a specious
and fantastic arrangement of words, by which a man can prove a
horse-chestnut to be a chestnut horse. I will say here, while
upon this subject, that I have no purpose, directly or
indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the
States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do
so, and I have no inclination to do so. I have no purpose to
introduce political and social equality between the white and the
black races. There is a physical difference between the two
which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living
together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it
becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well
as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong
having the superior position. I have never said anything to the
contrary, but I hold that, notwithstanding all this, there is no
reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the
natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the
right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold
that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree
with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects, certainly
not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment.
But in the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody
else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal, and the equal of
Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man.

Now I pass on to consider one or two more of these little
follies. The Judge is woefully at fault about his early friend
Lincoln being a "grocery-keeper." I don't know as it would be a
great sin, if I had been; but he is mistaken. Lincoln never kept
a grocery anywhere in the world. It is true that Lincoln did
work the latter part of one winter in a little stillhouse, up at
the head of a hollow. And so I think my friend the Judge is
equally at fault when he charges me at the time when I was in
Congress of having opposed our soldiers who were fighting in the
Mexican war. The Judge did not make his charge very distinctly,
but I can tell you what he can prove, by referring to the record.
You remember I was an old Whig, and whenever the Democratic party
tried to get me to vote that the war had been righteously begun
by the President, I would not do it. But whenever they asked for
any money, or landwarrants, or anything to pay the soldiers
there, during all that time, I gave the same vote that Judge
Douglas did. You can think as you please as to whether that was
consistent. Such is the truth, and the Judge has the right to
make all he can out of it. But when he, by a general charge,
conveys the idea that I withheld supplies from the soldiers who
were fighting in the Mexican war, or did anything else to hinder
the soldiers, he is, to say the least, grossly and altogether
mistaken, as a consultation of the records will prove to him.

As I have not used up so much of my time as I had supposed, I
will dwell a little longer upon one or two of these minor topics
upon which the Judge has spoken. He has read from my speech in
Springfield, in which I say that "a house divided against itself
cannot stand" Does the Judge say it can stand? I don't know
whether he does or not. The Judge does not seem to be attending
to me just now, but I would like to know if it is his opinion
that a house divided against itself can stand. If he does, then
there is a question of veracity, not between him and me, but
between the Judge and an Authority of a somewhat higher

Now, my friends, I ask your attention to this matter for the
purpose of saying something seriously. I know that the Judge may
readily enough agree with me that the maxim which was put forth
by the Savior is true, but he may allege that I misapply it; and
the Judge has a right to urge that, in my application, I do
misapply it, and then I have a right to show that I do not
misapply it, When he undertakes to say that because I think this
nation, so far as the question of slavery is concerned, will all
become one thing or all the other, I am in favor of bringing
about a dead uniformity in the various States, in all their
institutions, he argues erroneously. The great variety of the
local institutions in the States, springing from differences in
the soil, differences in the face of the country, and in the
climate, are bonds of Union. They do not make "a house divided
against itself," but they make a house united. If they produce
in one section of the country what is called for, by the wants of
another section, and this other section can supply the wants of
the first, they are not matters of discord, but bonds of union,
true bonds of union. But can this question of slavery be
considered as among these varieties in the institutions of the
country? I leave it to you to say whether, in the history of our
government, this institution of slavery has not always failed to
be a bond of union, and, on the contrary, been an apple of
discord and an element of division in the house. I ask you to
consider whether, so long as the moral constitution of men's
minds shall continue to be the same, after this generation and
assemblage shall sink into the grave, and another race shall
arise, with the same moral and intellectual development we have,
whether, if that institution is standing in the same irritating
position in which it now is, it will not continue an element of
division? If so, then I have a right to say that, in regard to
this question, the Union is a house divided against itself; and
when the Judge reminds me that I have often said to him that the
institution of slavery has existed for eighty years in some
States, and yet it does not exist in some others, I agree to the
fact, and I account for it by looking at the position in which
our fathers originally placed it--restricting it from the new
Territories where it had not gone, and legislating to cut off its
source by the abrogation of the slave trade, thus putting the
seal of legislation against its spread. The public mind did rest
in the belief that it was in the course of ultimate extinction.
But lately, I think--and in this I charge nothing on the Judge's
motives--lately, I think that he, and those acting with him, have
placed that institution on a new basis, which looks to the
perpetuity and nationalization of slavery. And while it is
placed upon this new basis, I say, and I have said, that I
believe we shall not have peace upon the question until the
opponents of slavery 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, on the other hand, that
its advocates will push it forward until it shall become alike
lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as
South. Now, I believe if we could arrest the spread, and place
it where Washington and Jefferson and Madison placed it, it would
be in the course of ultimate extinction, and the public mind
would, as for eighty years past, believe that it was in the
course of ultimate extinction. The crisis would be past, and the
institution might be let alone for a hundred years, if it should
live so long, in the States where it exists; yet it would be
going out of existence in the way best for both the black and the
white races.

[A voice: "Then do you repudiate popular sovereignty?"]

Well, then, let us talk about popular sovereignty! what is
popular sovereignty? Is it the right of the people to have
slavery or not have it, as they see fit, in the Territories? I
will state--and I have an able man to watch me--my understanding
is that popular sovereignty, as now applied to the question of
slavery, does allow the people of a Territory to have slavery if
they want to, but does not allow them not to have it if they do
not want it. I do not mean that if this vast concourse of people
were in a Territory of the United States, any one of them would
be obliged to have a slave if he did not want one; but I do say
that, as I understand the Dred Scott decision, if any one man
wants slaves, all the rest have no way of keeping that one man
from holding them.

When I made my speech at Springfield, of which the Judge
complains, and from which he quotes, I really was not thinking of
the things which he ascribes to me at all. I had no thought in
the world that I was doing anything to bring about a war between
the free and slave states. I had no thought in the world that I
was doing anything to bring about a political and social equality
of the black and white races. It never occurred to me that I was
doing anything or favoring anything to reduce to a dead
uniformity all the local institutions of the various States. But
I must say, in all fairness to him, if he thinks I am doing
something which leads to these bad results, it is none the better
that I did not mean it. It is just as fatal to the country, if I
have any influence in producing it, whether I intend it or not.
But can it be true that placing this institution upon the
original basis--the basis upon which our fathers placed it--can
have any tendency to set the Northern and the Southern States at
war with one another, or that it can have any tendency to make
the people of Vermont raise sugar-cane, because they raise it in
Louisiana, or that it can compel the people of Illinois to cut
pine logs on the Grand Prairie, where they will not grow, because
they cut pine logs in Maine, where they do grow? The Judge says
this is a new principle started in regard to this question. Does
the Judge claim that he is working on the plan of the founders of
government? I think he says in some of his speeches indeed, I
have one here now--that he saw evidence of a policy to allow
slavery to be south of a certain line, while north of it it
should be excluded, and he saw an indisposition on the part of
the country to stand upon that policy, and therefore he set about
studying the subject upon original principles, and upon original
principles he got up the Nebraska Bill! I am fighting it upon
these "original principles," fighting it in the Jeffersonian,
Washingtonian, and Madisonian fashion.

Now, my friends, I wish you to attend for a little while to one
or two other things in that Springfield speech. My main object
was to show, so far as my humble ability was capable of showing,
to the people of this country what I believed was the truth,--
that there was a tendency, if not a conspiracy, among those who
have engineered this slavery question for the last four or five
years, to make slavery perpetual and universal in this nation.
Having made that speech principally for that object, after
arranging the evidences that I thought tended to prove my
proposition, I concluded with this bit of comment:

"We cannot absolutely know that these exact adaptations are the
result of preconcert; 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, 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 mortises 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 feel
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 before the first blow
was struck."

When my friend Judge Douglas came to Chicago on the 9th of July,
this speech having been delivered on the 16th of June, he made an
harangue there, in which he took hold of this speech of mine,
showing that he had carefully read it; and while he paid no
attention to this matter at all, but complimented me as being a
"kind, amiable, and intelligent gentleman," notwithstanding I had
said this, he goes on and eliminates, or draws out, from my
speech this tendency of mine to set the States at war with one
another, to make all the institutions uniform, and set the
niggers and white people to marrying together. Then, as the
Judge had complimented me with these pleasant titles (I must
confess to my weakness), I was a little "taken," for it came from
a great man. I was not very much accustomed to flattery, and it
came the sweeter to me. I was rather like the Hoosier, with the
gingerbread, when he said he reckoned he loved it better than any
other man, and got less of it. As the Judge had so flattered me,
I could not make up my mind that he meant to deal unfairly with
me; so I went to work to show him that he misunderstood the whole
scope of my speech, and that I really never intended to set the
people at war with one another. As an illustration, the next
time I met him, which was at Springfield, I used this expression,
that I claimed no right under the Constitution, nor had I any
inclination, to enter into the slave States and interfere with
the institutions of slavery. He says upon that: Lincoln will not
enter into the slave States, but will go to the banks of the
Ohio, on this side, and shoot over! He runs on, step by step, in
the horse-chestnut style of argument, until in the Springfield
speech he says: "Unless he shall be successful in firing his
batteries until he shall have extinguished slavery in all the
States the Union shall be dissolved." Now, I don't think that
was exactly the way to treat "a kind, amiable, intelligent
gentleman." I know if I had asked the Judge to show when or
where it was I had said that, if I didn't succeed in firing into
the slave States until slavery should be extinguished, the Union
should be dissolved, he could not have shown it. I understand
what he would do. He would say: I don't mean to quote from you,
but this was the result of what you say. But I have the right to
ask, and I do ask now, Did you not put it in such a form that an
ordinary reader or listener would take it as an expression from

In a speech at Springfield, on the night of the 17th, I thought I
might as well attend to my own business a little, and I recalled
his attention as well as I could to this charge of conspiracy to
nationalize slavery. I called his attention to the fact that he
had acknowledged in my hearing twice that he had carefully read
the speech, and, in the language of the lawyers, as he had twice
read the speech, and still had put in no plea or answer, I took a
default on him. I insisted that I had a right then to renew that
charge of conspiracy. Ten days afterward I met the Judge at
Clinton,--that is to say, I was on the ground, but not in the
discussion,--and heard him make a speech. Then he comes in with
his plea to this charge, for the first time; and his plea when
put in, as well as I can recollect it, amounted to this: that he
never had any talk with Judge Taney or the President of the
United States with regard to the Dred Scott decision before it
was made. I (Lincoln) ought to know that the man who makes a
charge without knowing it to be true falsifies as much as he who
knowingly tells a falsehood; and, lastly, that he would pronounce
the whole thing a falsehood; but, he would make no personal
application of the charge of falsehood, not because of any regard
for the "kind, amiable, intelligent gentleman," but because of
his own personal self-respect! I have understood since then (but
[turning to Judge Douglas] will not hold the Judge to it if he is
not willing) that he has broken through the "self-respect," and
has got to saying the thing out. The Judge nods to me that it is
so. It is fortunate for me that I can keep as good-humored as I
do, when the Judge acknowledges that he has been trying to make a
question of veracity with me. I know the Judge is a great man,
while I am only a small man, but I feel that I have got him. I
demur to that plea. I waive all objections that it was not filed
till after default was taken, and demur to it upon the merits.
What if Judge Douglas never did talk with Chief Justice Taney and
the President before the Dred Scott decision was made, does it
follow that he could not have had as perfect an understanding
without talking as with it? I am not disposed to stand upon my
legal advantage. I am disposed to take his denial as being like
an answer in chancery, that he neither had any knowledge,
information, or belief in the existence of such a conspiracy. I
am disposed to take his answer as being as broad as though he had
put it in these words. And now, I ask, even if he had done so,
have not I a right to prove it on him, and to offer the evidence
of more than two witnesses, by whom to prove it; and if the
evidence proves the existence of the conspiracy, does his broader
answer denying all knowledge, information, or belief, disturb the
fact? It can only show that he was used by conspirators, and was
not a leader of them.

Now, in regard to his reminding me of the moral rule that persons
who tell what they do not know to be true falsify as much as
those who knowingly tell falsehoods. I remember the rule, and it
must be borne in mind that in what I have read to you, I do not
say that I know such a conspiracy to exist. To that I reply, I
believe it. If the Judge says that I do not believe it, then he
says what he does not know, and falls within his own rule, that
he who asserts a thing which he does not know to be true,
falsifies as much as he who knowingly tells a falsehood. I want
to call your attention to a little discussion on that branch of
the case, and the evidence which brought my mind to the
conclusion which I expressed as my belief. If, in arraying that
evidence I had stated anything which was false or erroneous, it
needed but that Judge Douglas should point it out, and I would
have taken it back, with all the kindness in the world. I do not
deal in that way. If I have brought forward anything not a fact,
if he will point it out, it will not even ruffle me to take it
back. But if he will not point out anything erroneous in the
evidence, is it not rather for him to show, by a comparison of
the evidence, that I have reasoned falsely, than to call the
"kind, amiable, intelligent gentleman" a liar? If I have
reasoned to a false conclusion, it is the vocation of an able
debater to show by argument that I have wandered to an erroneous
conclusion. I want to ask your attention to a portion of the
Nebraska Bill, which Judge Douglas has quoted:

"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."

Thereupon Judge Douglas and others began to argue in favor of
"popular sovereignty," the right of the people to have slaves if
they wanted them, and to exclude slavery if they did not want
them. "But," said, in substance, a Senator from Ohio (Mr. Chase,
I believe), "we more than suspect that you do not mean to allow
the people to exclude slavery if they wish to; and if you do mean
it, accept an amendment which I propose, expressly authorizing
the people to exclude slavery."

I believe I have the amendment here before me, which was offered,
and under which the people of the Territory, through their
representatives, might, if they saw fit, prohibit the existence
of slavery therein. And now I state it as a fact, to be taken
back if there is any mistake about it, that Judge Douglas and
those acting with him voted that amendment down. I now think
that those men who voted it down had a real reason for doing so.
They know what that reason was. It looks to us, since we have
seen the Dred Scott decision pronounced, holding that "under the
Constitution" the people cannot exclude slavery, I say it looks
to outsiders, poor, simple, "amiable, intelligent gentlemen," as
though the niche was left as a place to put that Dred Scott
decision in,--a niche which would have been spoiled by adopting
the amendment. And now, I say again, if this was not the reason,
it will avail the Judge much more to calmly and good-humoredly
point out to these people what that other reason was for voting
the amendment down, than, swelling himself up, to vociferate that
he may be provoked to call somebody a liar.

Again: There is in that same quotation from the Nebraska Bill
this clause: "It being the true intent and meaning of this bill
not to legislate slavery into any Territory or State." I have
always been puzzled to know what business the word "State" had in
that connection. Judge Douglas knows. He put it there. He
knows what he put it there for. We outsiders cannot say what he
put it there for. The law they were passing was not about
States, and was not making provisions for States. What was it
placed there for? After seeing the Dred Scott decision, which
holds that the people cannot exclude slavery from a Territory, if
another Dred Scott decision shall come, holding that they cannot
exclude it from a State, we shall discover that when the word was
originally put there, it was in view of something which was to
come in due time, we shall see that it was the other half of
something. I now say again, if there is any different reason for
putting it there, Judge Douglas, in a good-humored way, without
calling anybody a liar, can tell what the reason was.

When the Judge spoke at Clinton, he came very near making a
charge of falsehood against me. He used, as I found it printed
in a newspaper, which, I remember, was very nearly like the real
speech, the following language:

"I did not answer the charge [of conspiracy] before, for the
reason that I did not suppose there was a man in America with a
heart so corrupt as to believe such a charge could be true. I
have too much respect for Mr. Lincoln to suppose he is serious in
making the charge."

I confess this is rather a curious view, that out of respect for
me he should consider I was making what I deemed rather a grave
charge in fun. I confess it strikes me rather strangely. But I
let it pass. As the Judge did not for a moment believe that
there was a man in America whose heart was so "corrupt" as to
make such a charge, and as he places me among the "men in
America" who have hearts base enough to make such a charge, I
hope he will excuse me if I hunt out another charge very like
this; and if it should turn out that in hunting I should find
that other, and it should turn out to be Judge Douglas himself
who made it, I hope he will reconsider this question of the deep
corruption of heart he has thought fit to ascribe to me. In
Judge Douglas's speech of March 22, 1858, which I hold in my
hand, he says:

"In this connection there is another topic to which I desire to
allude. I seldom refer to the course of newspapers, or notice
the articles which they publish in regard to myself; but the
course of the Washington Union has been so extraordinary for the
last two or three months, that I think it well enough to make
some allusion to it. It has read me out of the Democratic party
every other day, at least for two or three months, and keeps
reading me out, and, as if it had not succeeded, still continues
to read me out, using such terms as 'traitor,' 'renegade,'
'deserter,' and other kind and polite epithets of that nature.
Sir, I have no vindication to make of my Democracy against the
Washington Union, or any other newspapers. I am willing to allow
my history and action for the last twenty years to speak for
themselves as to my political principles and my fidelity to
political obligations. The Washington Union has a personal
grievance. When its editor was nominated for public printer, I
declined to vote for him, and stated that at some time I might
give my reasons for doing so. Since I declined to give that
vote, this scurrilous abuse, these vindictive and constant
attacks have been repeated almost daily on me. Will any friend
from Michigan read the article to which I allude?"

This is a part of the speech. You must excuse me from reading
the entire article of the Washington Union, as Mr. Stuart read it
for Mr. Douglas. The Judge goes on and sums up, as I think,

"Mr. President, you here find several distinct propositions
advanced boldly by the Washington Union editorially, and
apparently authoritatively; and any man who questions any of them
is denounced as an Abolitionist, a Free-soiler, a fanatic. The
propositions are, first, that the primary object of all
government at its original institution is the protection of
person and property; second, that the Constitution of the United
States declares that the citizens of each State shall be entitled
to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several
States; and that, therefore, thirdly, all State laws, whether
organic or otherwise, which prohibit the citizens of one State
from settling in another with their slave property, and
especially declaring it forfeited, are direct violations of the
original intention of the government and Constitution of the
United States; and, fourth, that the emancipation of the slaves
of the Northern States was a gross outrage of the rights of
property, inasmuch as it was involuntarily done on the part of
the owner.

"Remember that this article was published in the Union on the
17th of November, and on the 18th appeared the first article
giving the adhesion of the Union, to the Lecompton Constitution.
It was in these words:

"KANSAS AND HER CONSTITUTION.--The vexed question is settled.
The problem is saved. The dead point of danger is passed. All
serious trouble to Kansas affairs is over and gone ..."

And a column nearly of the same sort. Then, when you come to
look into the Lecompton Constitution, you find the same doctrine
incorporated in it which was put forth editorially in the Union.
What is it?

"ARTICLE 7, Section I. The right of property is before and
higher than any constitutional sanction; and the right of the
owner of a slave to such slave and its increase is the same and
as inviolable as the right of the owner of any property

Then in the schedule is a provision that the Constitution may be
amended after 1864 by a two-thirds vote:

"But no alteration shall be made to affect the right of property
in the ownership of slaves."

"It will be seen by these clauses in the Lecompton Constitution
that they are identical in spirit with the authoritative article
in the Washington Union of the day previous to its indorsement of
this Constitution."

I pass over some portions of the speech, and I hope that any one
who feels interested in this matter will read the entire section
of the speech, and see whether I do the Judge injustice. He

"When I saw that article in the Union of the 17th of November,
followed by the glorification of the Lecompton Constitution on
the 10th of November, and this clause in the Constitution
asserting the doctrine that a State has no right to prohibit
slavery within its limits, I saw that there was a fatal blow
being struck at the sovereignty of the States of this Union."

I stop the quotation there, again requesting that it may all be
read. I have read all of the portion I desire to comment upon.
What is this charge that the Judge thinks I must have a very
corrupt heart to make? It was a purpose on the part of certain
high functionaries to make it impossible for the people of one
State to prohibit the people of any other State from entering it
with their "property," so called, and making it a slave State.
In other words, it was a charge implying a design to make the
institution of slavery national. And now I ask your attention to
what Judge Douglas has himself done here. I know he made that
part of the speech as a reason why he had refused to vote for a
certain man for public printer; but when we get at it, the charge
itself is the very one I made against him, that he thinks I am so
corrupt for uttering. Now, whom does he make that charge
against? Does he make it against that newspaper editor merely?
No; he says it is identical in spirit with the Lecompton
Constitution, and so the framers of that Constitution are brought
in with the editor of the newspaper in that "fatal blow being
struck." He did not call it a "conspiracy." In his language, it
is a "fatal blow being struck." And if the words carry the
meaning better when changed from a "conspiracy" into a "fatal
blow being struck, "I will change my expression, and call it
"fatal blow being struck." We see the charge made not merely
against the editor of the Union, but all the framers of the
Lecompton Constitution; and not only so, but the article was an
authoritative article. By whose authority? Is there any
question but he means it was by the authority of the President
and his Cabinet,--the Administration?

Is there any sort of question but he means to make that charge?
Then there are the editors of the Union, the framers of the
Lecompton Constitution, the President of the United States and
his Cabinet, and all the supporters of the Lecompton
Constitution, in Congress and out of Congress, who are all
involved in this "fatal blow being struck." I commend to Judge
Douglas's consideration the question of how corrupt a man's heart
must be to make such a charge!

Now, my friends, I have but one branch of the subject, in the
little time I have left, to which to call your attention; and as
I shall come to a close at the end of that branch, it is probable
that I shall not occupy quite all the time allotted to me.
Although on these questions I would like to talk twice as long as
I have, I could not enter upon another head and discuss it
properly without running over my time. I ask the attention of
the people here assembled and elsewhere to the course that Judge
Douglas is pursuing every day as bearing upon this question of
making slavery national. Not going back to the records, but
taking the speeches he makes, the speeches he made yesterday and
day before, and makes constantly all over the country, I ask your
attention to them. In the first place, what is necessary to make
the institution national? Not war. There is no danger that the
people of Kentucky will shoulder their muskets, and, with a young
nigger stuck on every bayonet, march into Illinois and force them
upon us. There is no danger of our going over there and making
war upon them. Then what is necessary for the nationalization of
slavery? It is simply the next Dred Scott decision. It is
merely for the Supreme Court to decide that no State under the
Constitution can exclude it, just as they have already decided
that under the Constitution neither Congress nor the Territorial
Legislature can do it. When that is decided and acquiesced in,
the whole thing is done. This being true, and this being the
way, as I think, that slavery is to be made national, let us
consider what Judge Douglas is doing every day to that end. In
the first place, let us see what influence he is exerting on
public sentiment. In this and like communities, public sentiment
is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without
it, nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who moulds public
sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces
decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or
impossible to be executed. This must be borne in mind, as also
the additional fact that Judge Douglas is a man of vast
influence, so great that it is enough for many men to profess to
believe anything when they once find out Judge Douglas professes
to believe it. Consider also the attitude he occupies at the
head of a large party,--a party which he claims has a majority of
all the voters in the country. This man sticks to a decision
which forbids the people of a Territory from excluding slavery,
and he does so, not because he says it is right in itself,--he
does not give any opinion on that,--but because it has been
decided by the court; and being decided by the court, he is, and
you are, bound to take it in your political action as law, not
that he judges at all of its merits, but because a decision of
the court is to him a "Thus saith the Lord." He places it on
that ground alone; and you will bear in mind that thus committing
himself unreservedly to this decision commits him to the next one
just as firmly as to this. He did not commit himself on account
of the merit or demerit of the decision, but it is a "Thus saith
the Lord." The next decision, as much as this, will be a "Thus
saith the Lord." There is nothing that can divert or turn him
away from this decision. It is nothing that I point out to him
that his great prototype, General Jackson, did not believe in the
binding force of decisions. It is nothing to him that Jefferson
did not so believe. I have said that I have often heard him
approve of Jackson's course in disregarding the decision of the
Supreme Court pronouncing a National Bank constitutional. He
says I did not hear him say so. He denies the accuracy of my
recollection. I say he ought to know better than I, but I will
make no question about this thing, though it still seems to me
that I heard him say it twenty times. I will tell him, though,
that he now claims to stand on the Cincinnati platform, which
affirms that Congress cannot charter a National Bank, in the
teeth of that old standing decision that Congress can charter a
bank. And I remind him of another piece of history on the
question of respect for judicial decisions, and it is a piece of
Illinois history belonging to a time when the large party to
which Judge Douglas belonged were displeased with a decision of
the Supreme Court of Illinois, because they had decided that a
Governor could not remove a Secretary of State. You will find
the whole story in Ford's History of Illinois, and I know that
Judge Douglas will not deny that he was then in favor of over-
slaughing that decision by the mode of adding five new judges, so
as to vote down the four old ones. Not only so, but it ended in
the Judge's sitting down on that very bench as one of the five
new judges to break down the four old ones It was in this way
precisely that he got his title of judge. Now, when the Judge
tells me that men appointed conditionally to sit as members of a
court will have to be catechized beforehand upon some subject, I
say, "You know, Judge; you have tried it." When he says a court
of this kind will lose the confidence of all men, will be
prostituted and disgraced by such a proceeding, I say, "You know
best, Judge; you have been through the mill." But I cannot shake
Judge Douglas's teeth loose from the Dred Scott decision. Like
some obstinate animal (I mean no disrespect) that will hang on
when he has once got his teeth fixed, you may cut off a leg, or
you may tear away an arm, still he will not relax his hold. And
so I may point out to the Judge, and say that he is bespattered
all over, from the beginning of his political life to the present
time, with attacks upon judicial decisions; I may cut off limb
after limb of his public record, and strive to wrench him from a
single dictum of the court,--yet I cannot divert him from it. He
hangs, to the last, to the Dred Scott decision. These things
show there is a purpose strong as death and eternity for which he
adheres to this decision, and for which he will adhere to all
other decisions of the same court.

[A HIBERNIAN: "Give us something besides Dred Scott."]

Yes; no doubt you want to hear something that don't hurt. Now,
having spoken of the Dred Scott decision, one more word, and I am
done. Henry Clay, my beau-ideal of a statesman, the man for whom
I fought all my humble life, Henry Clay once said of a class of
men who would repress all tendencies to liberty and ultimate
emancipation that they must, if they would do this, go back to
the era of our Independence, and muzzle the cannon which thunders
its annual joyous return; they must blow out the moral lights
around us; they must penetrate the human soul, and eradicate
there the love of liberty; and then, and not till then, could
they perpetuate slavery in this country! To my thinking, Judge
Douglas is, by his example and vast influence, doing that very
thing in this community, when he says that the negro has nothing
in the Declaration of Independence. Henry Clay plainly
understood the contrary. Judge Douglas is going back to the era
of our Revolution, and, to the extent of his ability, muzzling
the cannon which thunders its annual joyous return. When he
invites any people, willing to have slavery, to establish it, he
is blowing out the moral lights around us. When he says he
"cares not whether slavery is voted down or up,"--that it is a
sacred right of self-government,--he is, in my judgment,
penetrating the human soul and eradicating the light of reason
and the love of liberty in this American people. And now I will
only say that when, by all these means and appliances, Judge
Douglas shall succeed in bringing public sentiment to an exact
accordance with his own views; when these vast assemblages shall
echo back all these sentiments; when they shall come to repeat
his views and to avow his principles, and to say all that he says
on these mighty questions,--then it needs only the formality of
the second Dred Scott decision, which he indorses in advance, to
make slavery alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new,
North as well as South.

My friends, that ends the chapter. The Judge can take his


AUGUST 27, 1858

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:--On Saturday last, Judge Douglas and myself
first met in public discussion. He spoke one hour, I an hour and
a half, and he replied for half an hour. The order is now
reversed. I am to speak an hour, he an hour and a half, and then
I am to reply for half an hour. I propose to devote myself
during the first hour to the scope of what was brought within the
range of his half-hour speech at Ottawa. Of course there was
brought within the scope in that half-hour's speech something of
his own opening speech. In the course of that opening argument
Judge Douglas proposed to me seven distinct interrogatories. In
my speech of an hour and a half, I attended to some other parts
of his speech, and incidentally, as I thought, intimated to him
that I would answer the rest of his interrogatories on condition
only that he should agree to answer as many for me. He made no
intimation at the time of the proposition, nor did he in his
reply allude at all to that suggestion of mine. I do him no
injustice in saying that he occupied at least half of his reply
in dealing with me as though I had refused to answer his
interrogatories. I now propose that I will answer any of the
interrogatories, upon condition that he will answer questions
from me not exceeding the same number. I give him an opportunity
to respond.

The Judge remains silent. I now say that I will answer his
interrogatories, whether he answers mine or not; and that after I
have done so, I shall propound mine to him.

I have supposed myself, since the organization of the Republican
party at Bloomington, in May, 1856, bound as a party man by the
platforms of the party, then and since. If in any
interrogatories which I
shall answer I go beyond the scope of what is within these
platforms, it will be perceived that no one is responsible but

Having said thus much, I will take up the Judge's interrogatories
as I find them printed in the Chicago Times, and answer them
seriatim. In order that there may be no mistake about it, I have
copied the interrogatories in writing, and also my answers to
them. The first one of these interrogatories is in these words:

Question 1.--"I desire to know whether Lincoln to-day stands, as
he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional repeal of the
Fugitive Slave law?" Answer:--I do not now, nor ever did, stand
in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave law.

Q. 2.--"I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to-day,
as he did in 1854, against the admission of any more slave States
into the Union, even if the people want them?" Answer:--I do not
now, nor ever did, stand pledged against the admission of any
more slave States into the Union.

Q. 3.--"I want to know whether he stands pledged against the
admission of a new State into the Union with such a constitution
as the people of that State may see fit to make?" Answer:--I do
not stand pledged against the admission of a new State into the
Union, with such a constitution as the people of that State may
see fit to make.

Q. 4.--"I want to know whether he stands to-day pledged to the
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia?" Answer:--I do
not stand to-day pledged to the abolition of slavery in the
District of Columbia.

Q. 5.--"I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to the
prohibition of the slave-trade between the different States?"
Answer:--I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the
slave-trade between the different States.

Q. 6.--"I desire to know whether he stands pledged to prohibit
slavery in all the Territories of the United States, north as
well as south of the Missouri Compromise line?" Answer:--I am
impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a belief in the right and
duty of Congress to prohibit slavery in all the United States

Q. 7.--"I desire him to answer whether he is opposed to the
acquisition of any new territory unless slavery is first
prohibited therein?" Answer:--I am not generally opposed to
honest acquisition of territory; and, in any given case, I would
or would not oppose such acquisition, accordingly as I might
think such acquisition would or would not aggravate the slavery
question among ourselves.

Now, my friends, it will be perceived, upon an examination of
these questions and answers, that so far I have only answered
that I was not pledged to this, that, or the other. The Judge
has not framed his interrogatories to ask me anything more than
this, and I have answered in strict accordance with the
interrogatories, and have answered truly, that I am not pledged
at all upon any of the points to which I have answered. But I am
not disposed to hang upon the exact form of his interrogatory. I
am rather disposed to take up at least some of these questions,
and state what I really think upon them.

As to the first one, in regard to the Fugitive Slave law, I have
never hesitated to say, and I do not now hesitate to say, that I
think, under the Constitution of the United States, the people of
the Southern States are entitled to a Congressional Fugitive
Slave law. Having said that, I have had nothing to say in regard
to the existing Fugitive Slave law, further than that I think it
should have been framed so as to be free from some of the
objections that pertain to it, without lessening its efficiency.
And inasmuch as we are not now in an agitation in regard to an
alteration or modification of that law, I would not be the man to
introduce it as a new subject of agitation upon the general
question of slavery.

In regard to the other question, of whether I am pledged to the
admission of any more slave States into the Union, I state to you
very frankly that I would be exceedingly sorry ever to be put in
a position of having to pass upon that question. I should be
exceedingly glad to know that there would never be another slave
State admitted into the Union; but I must add that if slavery
shall be kept out of the Territories during the territorial
existence of any one given Territory, and then the people shall,
having a fair chance and a clear field, when they come to adopt
the constitution, do such an extraordinary thing as to adopt a
slave constitution, uninfluenced by the actual presence of the
institution among them, I see no alternative, if we own the
country, but to admit them into the Union.

The third interrogatory is answered by the answer to the second,
it being, as I conceive, the same as the second.

The fourth one is in regard to the abolition of slavery in the
District of Columbia. In relation to that, I have my mind very
distinctly made up. I should be exceedingly glad to see slavery
abolished in the District of Columbia. I believe that Congress
possesses the constitutional power to abolish it. Yet as a
member of Congress, I should not, with my present views, be in
favor of endeavoring to abolish slavery in the District of
Columbia, unless it would be upon these conditions: First, that
the abolition should be gradual; second, that it should be on a
vote of the majority of qualified voters in the District; and
third, that compensation should be made to unwilling owners.
With these three conditions, I confess I would be exceedingly
glad to see Congress abolish slavery in the District of Columbia,
and, in the language of Henry Clay, "sweep from our capital that
foul blot upon our nation."

In regard to the fifth interrogatory, I must say here that, as to
the question of the abolition of the slave-trade between the
different States, I can truly answer, as I have, that I am
pledged to nothing about it. It is a subject to which I have not
given that mature consideration that would make me feel
authorized to state a position so as to hold myself entirely
bound by it. In other words, that question has never been
prominently enough before me to induce me to investigate whether
we really have the constitutional power to do it. I could
investigate it if I had sufficient time to bring myself to a
conclusion upon that subject; but I have not done so, and I say
so frankly to you here, and to Judge Douglas. I must say,
however, that if I should be of opinion that Congress does
possess the constitutional power to abolish the slave-trade among
the different States, I should still not be in favor of the
exercise of that power, unless upon some conservative principle
as I conceive it, akin to what I have said in relation to the
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.

My answer as to whether I desire that slavery should be
prohibited in all the Territories of the United States is full
and explicit within itself, and cannot be made clearer by any
comments of mine. So I suppose in regard to the question whether
I am opposed to the acquisition of any more territory unless
slavery is first prohibited therein, my answer is such that I
could add nothing by way of illustration, or making myself better
understood, than the answer which I have placed in writing.

Now in all this the Judge has me, and he has me on the record. I
suppose he had flattered himself that I was really entertaining
one set of opinions for one place, and another set for another
place; that I was afraid to say at one place what I uttered at
another. What I am saying here I suppose I say to a vast
audience as strongly tending to Abolitionism as any audience in
the State of Illinois, and I believe I am saying that which, if
it would be offensive to any persons and render them enemies to
myself, would be offensive to persons in this

I now proceed to propound to the Judge the interrogatories, so
far as I have framed them. I will bring forward a new
installment when I get them ready. I will bring them forward now
only reaching to number four.
The first one is:

Question 1.--If the people of Kansas shall, by means entirely
unobjectionable in all other respects, adopt a State
constitution, and ask admission into the Union under it, before
they have the requisite number of inhabitants according to the
English bill,--some ninety-three thousand,--will you vote to
admit them?

Q. 2.--Can the people of a United States Territory, in any
lawful way, against the wish of any citizen of the United States,
exclude slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a State

Q. 3. If the Supreme Court of the United States shall decide
that States cannot exclude slavery from their limits, are you in
favor of acquiescing in, adopting, and following such decision as
a rule of political action?

Q. 4. Are you in favor of acquiring additional territory, in
disregard of how such acquisition may affect the nation on the
slavery question?

As introductory to these interrogatories which Judge Douglas
propounded to me at Ottawa, he read a set of resolutions which he
said Judge Trumbull and myself had participated in adopting, in
the first Republican State Convention, held at Springfield in
October, 1854. He insisted that I and Judge Trumbull, and
perhaps the entire Republican party, were responsible for the
doctrines contained in the set of resolutions which he read, and
I understand that it was from that set of resolutions that he
deduced the interrogatories which he propounded to me, using
these resolutions as a sort of authority for propounding those
questions to me. Now, I say here to-day that I do not answer his
interrogatories because of their springing at all from that set
of resolutions which he read. I answered them because Judge
Douglas thought fit to ask them. I do not now, nor ever did,
recognize any responsibility upon myself in that set of
resolutions. When I replied to him on that occasion, I assured
him that I never had anything to do with them. I repeat here to
today that I never in any possible form had anything to do with
that set of resolutions It turns out, I believe, that those
resolutions were never passed in any convention held in

It turns out that they were never passed at any convention or any
public meeting that I had any part in. I believe it turns out,
in addition to all this, that there was not, in the fall of 1854,
any convention holding a session in Springfield, calling itself a
Republican State Convention; yet it is true there was a
convention, or assemblage of men calling themselves a convention,
at Springfield, that did pass some resolutions. But so little
did I really know of the proceedings of that convention, or what
set of resolutions they had passed, though having a general
knowledge that there had been such an assemblage of men there,
that when Judge Douglas read the resolutions, I really did not
know but they had been the resolutions passed then and there. I
did not question that they were the resolutions adopted. For I
could not bring myself to suppose that Judge Douglas could say
what he did upon this subject without knowing that it was true.
I contented myself, on that occasion, with denying, as I truly
could, all connection with them, not denying or affirming whether
they were passed at Springfield. Now, it turns out that he had
got hold of some resolutions passed at some convention or public
meeting in Kane County. I wish to say here, that I don't
conceive that in any fair and just mind this discovery relieves
me at all. I had just as much to do with the convention in Kane
County as that at Springfield. I am as much responsible for the
resolutions at Kane County as those at Springfield,--the amount
of the responsibility being exactly nothing in either case; no
more than there would be in regard to a set of resolutions passed
in the moon.

I allude to this extraordinary matter in this canvass for some
further purpose than anything yet advanced. Judge Douglas did
not make his statement upon that occasion as matters that he
believed to be true, but he stated them roundly as being true, in
such form as to pledge his veracity for their truth. When the
whole matter turns out as it does, and when we consider who Judge
Douglas is, that he is a distinguished Senator of the United
States; that he has served nearly twelve years as such; that his
character is not at all limited as an ordinary Senator of the
United States, but that his name has become of world-wide
renown,--it is most extraordinary that he should so far forget
all the suggestions of justice to an adversary, or of prudence to
himself, as to venture upon the assertion of that which the
slightest investigation would have shown him to be wholly false.
I can only account for his having done so upon the supposition
that that evil genius which has attended him through his life,
giving to him an apparent astonishing prosperity, such as to lead
very many good men to doubt there being any advantage in virtue
over vice,--I say I can only account for it on the supposition
that that evil genius has as last made up its mind to forsake

And I may add that another extraordinary feature of the Judge's
conduct in this canvass--made more extraordinary by this
incident--is, that he is in the habit, in almost all the speeches
he makes, of charging falsehood upon his adversaries, myself and
others. I now ask whether he is able to find in anything that
Judge Trumbull, for instance, has said, or in anything that I
have said, a justification at all compared with what we have, in
this instance, for that sort of vulgarity.

I have been in the habit of charging as a matter of belief on my
part that, in the introduction of the Nebraska Bill into
Congress, there was a conspiracy to make slavery perpetual and
national. I have arranged from time to time the evidence which
establishes and proves the truth of this charge. I recurred to
this charge at Ottawa. I shall not now have time to dwell upon
it at very great length; but inasmuch as Judge Douglas, in his
reply of half an hour, made some points upon me in relation to
it, I propose noticing a few of them.

The Judge insists that, in the first speech I made, in which I
very distinctly made that charge, he thought for a good while I
was in fun! that I was playful; that I was not sincere about it;
and that he only grew angry and somewhat excited when he found
that I insisted upon it as a matter of earnestness. He says he
characterized it as a falsehood so far as I implicated his moral
character in that transaction. Well, I did not know, till he
presented that view, that I had implicated his moral character.
He is very much in the habit, when he argues me up into a
position I never thought of occupying, of very cosily saying he
has no doubt Lincoln is "conscientious" in saying so. He should
remember that I did not know but what he was ALTOGETHER
"CONSCIENTIOUS" in that matter. I can conceive it possible for
men to conspire to do a good thing, and I really find nothing in
Judge Douglas's course of arguments that is contrary to or
inconsistent with his belief of a conspiracy to nationalize and
spread slavery as being a good and blessed thing; and so I hope
he will understand that I do not at all question but that in all
this matter he is entirely "conscientious."

But to draw your attention to one of the points I made in this
case, beginning at the beginning: When the Nebraska Bill was
introduced, or a short time afterward, by an amendment, I
believe, it was provided that it must be considered "the true
intent and meaning of this 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 own
domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the
Constitution of the United States." I have called his attention
to the fact that when he and some others began arguing that they
were giving an increased degree of liberty to the people in the
Territories over and above what they formerly had on the question
of slavery, a question was raised whether the law was enacted to
give such unconditional liberty to the people; and to test the
sincerity of this mode of argument, Mr. Chase, of Ohio,
introduced an amendment, in which he made the law--if the
amendment were adopted--expressly declare that the people of the
Territory should have the power to exclude slavery if they saw
fit. I have asked attention also to the fact that Judge Douglas
and those who acted with him voted that amendment down,
notwithstanding it expressed exactly the thing they said was the
true intent and meaning of the law. I have called attention to
the fact that in subsequent times a decision of the Supreme Court
has been made, in which it has been declared that a Territorial
Legislature has no constitutional right to exclude slavery. And
I have argued and said that for men who did, intend that the
people of the Territory should have the right to exclude slavery
absolutely and unconditionally, the voting down of Chase's
amendment is wholly inexplicable. It is a puzzle, a riddle. But
I have said, that with men who did look forward to such a
decision, or who had it in contemplation that such a decision of
the Supreme Court would or might be made, the voting down of that
amendment would be perfectly rational and intelligible. It would
keep Congress from coming in collision with the decision when it
was made. Anybody can conceive that if there was an intention or
expectation that such a decision was to follow, it would not be a
very desirable party attitude to get into for the Supreme Court--
all or nearly all its members belonging to the same party--to
decide one way, when the party in Congress had decided the other
way. Hence it would be very rational for men expecting such a
decision to keep the niche in that law clear for it. After
pointing this out, I tell Judge Douglas that it looks to me as
though here was the reason why Chase's amendment was voted down.
I tell him that, as he did it, and knows why he did it, if it was
done for a reason different from this, he knows what that reason
was and can tell us what it was. I tell him, also, it will be
vastly more satisfactory to the country for him to give some
other plausible, intelligible reason why it was voted down than
to stand upon his dignity and call people liars. Well, on
Saturday he did make his answer; and what do you think it was?
He says if I had only taken upon myself to tell the whole truth
about that amendment of Chase's, no explanation would have been
necessary on his part or words to that effect. Now, I say here
that I am quite unconscious of having suppressed anything
material to the case, and I am very frank to admit if there is
any sound reason other than that which appeared to me material,
it is quite fair for him to present it. What reason does he
propose? That when Chase came forward with his amendment
expressly authorizing the people to exclude slavery from the
limits of every Territory, General Cass proposed to Chase, if he
(Chase) would add to his amendment that the people should have
the power to introduce or exclude, they would let it go. This is
substantially all of his reply. And because Chase would not do
that, they voted his amendment down. Well, it turns out, I
believe, upon examination, that General Cass took some part in
the little running debate upon that amendment, and then ran away
and did not vote on it at all. Is not that the fact? So
confident, as I think, was General Cass that there was a snake
somewhere about, he chose to run away from the whole thing. This
is an inference I draw from the fact that, though he took part in
the debate, his name does not appear in the ayes and noes. But
does Judge Douglas's reply amount to a satisfactory answer?

[Cries of "Yes," "Yes," and "No," "No."]

There is some little difference of opinion here. But I ask
attention to a few more views bearing on the question of whether
it amounts to a satisfactory answer. The men who were determined
that that amendment should not get into the bill, and spoil the
place where the Dred Scott decision was to come in, sought an
excuse to get rid of it somewhere. One of these ways--one of
these excuses--was to ask Chase to add to his proposed amendment
a provision that the people might introduce slavery if they
wanted to. They very well knew Chase would do no such thing,
that Mr. Chase was one of the men differing from them on the
broad principle of his insisting that freedom was better than
slavery,--a man who would not consent to enact a law, penned with
his own hand, by which he was made to recognize slavery on the
one hand, and liberty on the other, as precisely equal; and when
they insisted on his doing this, they very well knew they
insisted on that which he would not for a moment think of doing,
and that they were only bluffing him. I believe (I have not,
since he made his answer, had a chance to examine the journals or
Congressional Globe and therefore speak from memory)--I believe
the state of the bill at that time, according to parliamentary
rules, was such that no member could propose an additional
amendment to Chase's amendment. I rather think this is the
truth,--the Judge shakes his head. Very well. I would like to
know, then, if they wanted Chase's amendment fixed over, why
somebody else could not have offered to do it? If they wanted it
amended, why did they not offer the amendment? Why did they not
put it in themselves? But to put it on the other ground:
suppose that there was such an amendment offered, and Chase's was
an amendment to an amendment; until one is disposed of by
parliamentary law, you cannot pile another on. Then all these
gentlemen had to do was to vote Chase's on, and then, in the
amended form in which the whole stood, add their own amendment to
it, if they wanted to put it in that shape. This was all they
were obliged to do, and the ayes and noes show that there were
thirty-six who voted it down, against ten who voted in favor of
it. The thirty-six held entire sway and control. They could in
some form or other have put that bill in the exact shape they
wanted. If there was a rule preventing their amending it at the
time, they could pass that, and then, Chase's amendment being
merged, put it in the shape they wanted. They did not choose to
do so, but they went into a quibble with Chase to get him to add
what they knew he would not add, and because he would not, they
stand upon the flimsy pretext for voting down what they argued
was the meaning and intent of their own bill. They left room
thereby for this Dred Scott decision, which goes very far to make
slavery national throughout the United States.

I pass one or two points I have, because my time will very soon
expire; but I must be allowed to say that Judge Douglas recurs
again, as he did upon one or two other occasions, to the enormity
of Lincoln, an insignificant individual like Lincoln,--upon his
ipse dixit charging a conspiracy upon a large number of members
of Congress, the Supreme Court, and two Presidents, to
nationalize slavery. I want to say that, in the first place, I
have made no charge of this sort upon my ipse dixit. I have only
arrayed the evidence tending to prove it, and presented it to the
understanding of others, saying what I think it proves, but
giving you the means of judging whether it proves it or not.
This is precisely what I have done. I have not placed it upon my
ipse dixit at all. On this occasion, I wish to recall his
attention to a piece of evidence which I brought forward at
Ottawa on Saturday, showing that he had made substantially the
same charge against substantially the same persons, excluding his
dear self from the category. I ask him to give some attention to
the evidence which I brought forward that he himself had
discovered a "fatal blow being struck" against the right of the
people to exclude slavery from their limits, which fatal blow he
assumed as in evidence in an article in the Washington Union,
published "by authority." I ask by whose authority? He
discovers a similar or identical provision in the Lecompton
Constitution. Made by whom? The framers of that Constitution.
Advocated by whom? By all the members of the party in the
nation, who advocated the introduction of Kansas into the Union
under the Lecompton Constitution. I have asked his attention to
the evidence that he arrayed to prove that such a fatal blow was
being struck, and to the facts which he brought forward in
support of that charge,--being identical with the one which he
thinks so villainous in me. He pointed it, not at a newspaper
editor merely, but at the President and his Cabinet and the
members of Congress advocating the Lecompton Constitution and
those framing that instrument. I must again be permitted to
remind him that although my ipse dixit may not be as great as
his, yet it somewhat reduces the force of his calling my
attention to the enormity of my making a like charge against him.

Go on, Judge Douglas.


MY FRIENDS:--It will readily occur to you that I cannot, in half
an hour, notice all the things that so able a man as Judge
Douglas can say in an hour and a half; and I hope, therefore, if
there be anything that he has said upon which you would like to
hear something from me, but which I omit to comment upon, you
will bear in mind that it would be expecting an impossibility for

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