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The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, v3 by Abraham Lincoln

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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
me to go over his whole ground. I can but take up some of the
points that he has dwelt upon, and employ my half-hour specially
on them.

The first thing I have to say to you is a word in regard to Judge
Douglas's declaration about the "vulgarity and blackguardism" in
the audience, that no such thing, as he says, was shown by any
Democrat while I was speaking. Now, I only wish, by way of reply
on this subject, to say that while I was speaking, I used no
"vulgarity or blackguardism" toward any Democrat.

Now, my friends, I come to all this long portion of the Judge's
speech,--perhaps half of it,--which he has devoted to the various
resolutions and platforms that have been adopted in the different
counties in the different Congressional districts, and in the
Illinois legislature, which he supposes are at variance with the
positions I have assumed before you to-day. It is true that many
of these resolutions are at variance with the positions I have
here assumed. All I have to ask is that we talk reasonably and
rationally about it. I happen to know, the Judge's opinion to
the contrary notwithstanding, that I have never tried to conceal
my opinions, nor tried to deceive any one in reference to them.
He may go and examine all the members who voted for me for United
States Senator in 1855, after the election of 1854. They were
pledged to certain things here at home, and were determined to
have pledges from me; and if he will find any of these persons
who will tell him anything inconsistent with what I say now, I
will resign, or rather retire from the race, and give him no more
trouble. The plain truth is this: At the introduction of the
Nebraska policy, we believed there was a new era being introduced
in the history of the Republic, which tended to the spread and
perpetuation of slavery. But in our opposition to that measure
we did not agree with one another in everything. The people in
the north end of the State were for stronger measures of
opposition than we of the central and southern portions of the
State, but we were all opposed to the Nebraska doctrine. We had
that one feeling and that one sentiment in common. You at the
north end met in your conventions and passed your resolutions.
We in the middle of the State and farther south did not hold such
conventions and pass the same resolutions, although we had in
general a common view and a common sentiment. So that these
meetings which the Judge has alluded to, and the resolutions he
has read from, were local, and did not spread over the whole
State. We at last met together in 1886, from all parts of the
State, and we agreed upon a common platform. You, who held more
extreme notions, either yielded those notions, or, if not wholly
yielding them, agreed to yield them practically, for the sake of
embodying the opposition to the measures which the opposite party
were pushing forward at that time. We met you then, and if there
was anything yielded, it was for practical purposes. We agreed
then upon a platform for the party throughout the entire State of
Illinois, and now we are all bound, as a party, to that platform.

And I say here to you, if any one expects of me--in case of my
election--that I will do anything not signified by our Republican
platform and my answers here to-day, I tell you very frankly that
person will be deceived. I do not ask for the vote of any one
who supposes that I have secret purposes or pledges that I dare
not speak out. Cannot the Judge be satisfied? If he fears, in
the unfortunate case of my election, that my going to Washington
will enable me to advocate sentiments contrary to those which I
expressed when you voted for and elected me, I assure him that
his fears are wholly needless and groundless. Is the Judge
really afraid of any such thing? I'll tell you what he is afraid
of. He is afraid we'll all pull together. This is what alarms
him more than anything else. For my part, I do hope that all of
us, entertaining a common sentiment in opposition to what appears
to us a design to nationalize and perpetuate slavery, will waive
minor differences on questions which either belong to the dead
past or the distant future, and all pull together in this
struggle. What are your sentiments? If it be true that on the
ground which I occupy--ground which I occupy as frankly and
boldly as Judge Douglas does his,--my views, though partly
coinciding with yours, are not as perfectly in accordance with
your feelings as his are, I do say to you in all candor, go for
him, and not for me. I hope to deal in all things fairly with
Judge Douglas, and with the people of the State, in this contest.
And if I should never be elected to any office, I trust I may go
down with no stain of falsehood upon my reputation,
notwithstanding the hard opinions Judge Douglas chooses to
entertain of me.

The Judge has again addressed himself to the Abolition tendencies
of a speech of mine made at Springfield in June last. I have so
often tried to answer what he is always saying on that melancholy
theme that I almost turn with disgust from the discussion,--from
the repetition of an answer to it. I trust that nearly all of
this intelligent audience have read that speech. If you have, I
may venture to leave it to you to inspect it closely, and see
whether it contains any of those "bugaboos" which frighten Judge

The Judge complains that I did not fully answer his questions.
If I have the sense to comprehend and answer those questions, I
have done so fairly. If it can be pointed out to me how I can
more fully and fairly answer him, I aver I have not the sense to
see how it is to be done. He says I do not declare I would in
any event vote for the admission of a slave State into the Union.
If I have been fairly reported, he will see that I did give an
explicit answer to his interrogatories; I did not merely say that
I would dislike to be put to the test, but I said clearly, if I
were put to the test, and a Territory from which slavery had been
excluded should present herself with a State constitution
sanctioning slavery,--a most extraordinary thing, and wholly
unlikely to happen,--I did not see how I could avoid voting for
her admission. But he refuses to understand that I said so, and
he wants this audience to understand that I did not say so. Yet
it will be so reported in the printed speech that he cannot help
seeing it.

He says if I should vote for the admission of a slave State I
would be voting for a dissolution of the Union, because I hold
that the Union cannot permanently exist half slave and half free.
I repeat that I do not believe this government can endure
permanently half slave and half free; yet I do not admit, nor
does it at all follow, that the admission of a single slave State
will permanently fix the character and establish this as a
universal slave nation. The Judge is very happy indeed at
working up these quibbles. Before leaving the subject of
answering questions, I aver as my confident belief, when you come
to see our speeches in print, that you will find every question
which he has asked me more fairly and boldly and fully answered
than he has answered those which I put to him. Is not that so?
The two speeches may be placed side by side, and I will venture
to leave it to impartial judges whether his questions have not
been more directly and circumstantially answered than mine.

Judge Douglas says he made a charge upon the editor of the
Washington Union, alone, of entertaining a purpose to rob the
States of their power to exclude slavery from their limits. I
undertake to say, and I make the direct issue, that he did not
make his charge against the editor of the Union alone. I will
undertake to prove by the record here that he made that charge
against more and higher dignitaries than the editor of the
Washington Union. I am quite aware that he was shirking and
dodging around the form in which he put it, but I can make it
manifest that he leveled his "fatal blow" against more persons
than this Washington editor. Will he dodge it now by alleging
that I am trying to defend Mr. Buchanan against the charge? Not
at all. Am I not making the same charge myself? I am trying to
show that you, Judge Douglas, are a witness on my side. I am not
defending Buchanan, and I will tell Judge Douglas that in my
opinion, when he made that charge, he had an eye farther north
than he has to-day. He was then fighting against people who
called him a Black Republican and an Abolitionist. It is mixed
all through his speech, and it is tolerably manifest that his eye
was a great deal farther north than it is to-day. The Judge says
that though he made this charge, Toombs got up and declared there
was not a man in the United States, except the editor of the
Union, who was in favor of the doctrines put forth in that
article. And thereupon I understand that the Judge withdrew the
charge. Although he had taken extracts from the newspaper, and
then from the Lecompton Constitution, to show the existence of a
conspiracy to bring about a "fatal blow," by which the States
were to be deprived of the right of excluding slavery, it all
went to pot as soon as Toombs got up and told him it was not
true. It reminds me of the story that John Phoenix, the
California railroad surveyor, tells. He says they started out
from the Plaza to the Mission of Dolores. They had two ways of
determining distances. One was by a chain and pins taken over
the ground. The other was by a "go-it-ometer,"--an invention of
his own,--a three-legged instrument, with which he computed a
series of triangles between the points. At night he turned to
the chain-man to ascertain what distance they had come, and found
that by some mistake he had merely dragged the chain over the
ground, without keeping any record. By the "go-it-ometer," he
found he had made ten miles. Being skeptical about this, he
asked a drayman who was passing how far it was to the Plaza. The
drayman replied it was just half a mile; and the surveyor put it
down in his book,--just as Judge Douglas says, after he had made
his calculations and computations, he took Toombs's statement. I
have no doubt that after Judge Douglas had made his charge, he
was as easily satisfied about its truth as the surveyor was of
the drayman's statement of the distance to the Plaza. Yet it is
a fact that the man who put forth all that matter which Douglas
deemed a "fatal blow" at State sovereignty was elected by the
Democrats as public printer.

Now, gentlemen, you may take Judge Douglas's speech of March 22,
1858, beginning about the middle of page 21, and reading to the
bottom of page 24, and you will find the evidence on which I say
that he did not make his charge against the editor of the Union
alone. I cannot stop to read it, but I will give it to the
reporters. Judge Douglas said:

"Mr. President, you here find several distinct propositions
advanced boldly by the Washington Union editorially, and
apparently authoritatively, and every 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
persons 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 on the rights of
property, in as much 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 solved. 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 invariable 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 this authoritative article
in the Washington Union of the day previous to its indorsement of
this Constitution.

"When I saw that article in the Union of the 17th of November,
followed by the glorification of the Lecompton Constitution on
the 18th 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."

Here he says, "Mr. President, you here find several distinct
propositions advanced boldly, and apparently authoritatively."
By whose authority, Judge Douglas? Again, he says in another
place, "It will be seen by these clauses in the Lecompton
Constitution that they are identical in spirit with this
authoritative article." By whose authority,--who do you mean to
say authorized the publication of these articles? He knows that
the Washington Union is considered the organ of the
Administration. I demand of Judge Douglas by whose authority he
meant to say those articles were published, if not by the
authority of the President of the United States and his Cabinet?
I defy him to show whom he referred to, if not to these high
functionaries in the Federal Government. More than this, he says
the articles in that paper and the provisions of the Lecompton
Constitution are "identical," and, being identical, he argues
that the authors are co-operating and conspiring together. He
does not use the word "conspiring," but what other construction
can you put upon it? He winds up:

"When I saw that article in the Union of the 17th of November,
followed by the glorification of the Lecompton Constitution on
the 18th 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 ask him if all this fuss was made over the editor of this
newspaper. It would be a terribly "fatal blow" indeed which a
single man could strike, when no President, no Cabinet officer,
no member of Congress, was giving strength and efficiency to the
movement. Out of respect to Judge Douglas's good sense I must
believe he did n't manufacture his idea of the "fatal" character
of that blow out of such a miserable scapegrace as he represents
that editor to be. But the Judge's eye is farther south now.
Then, it was very peculiarly and decidedly north. His hope
rested on the idea of visiting the great "Black Republican"
party, and making it the tail of his new kite. He knows he was
then expecting from day to day to turn Republican, and place
himself at the head of our organization. He has found that these
despised "Black Republicans" estimate him by a standard which he
has taught them none too well. Hence he is crawling back into
his old camp, and you will find him eventually installed in full
fellowship among those whom he was then battling, and with whom
he now pretends to be at such fearful variance.


SEPTEMBER 15, 1858


LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:--There is very much in the principles that
Judge Douglas has here enunciated that I most cordially approve,
and over which I shall have no controversy with him. In so far
as he has insisted that all the States have the right to do
exactly as they please about all their domestic relations,
including that of slavery, I agree entirely with him. He places
me wrong in spite of all I can tell him, though I repeat it again
and again, insisting that I have no difference with him upon this
subject. I have made a great many speeches, some of which have
been printed, and it will be utterly impossible for him to find
anything that I have ever put in print contrary to what I now say
upon this subject. I hold myself under constitutional
obligations to allow the people in all the States, without
interference, direct or indirect, to do exactly as they please;
and I deny that I have any inclination to interfere with them,
even if there were no such constitutional obligation. I can only
say again that I am placed improperly--altogether improperly, in
spite of all I can say--when it is insisted that I entertain any
other view or purposes in regard to that matter.

While I am upon this subject, I will make some answers briefly to
certain propositions that Judge Douglas has put. He says, "Why
can't this Union endure permanently half slave and half free?" I
have said that I supposed it could not, and I will try, before
this new audience, to give briefly some of the reasons for
entertaining that opinion. Another form of his question is, "Why
can't we let it stand as our fathers placed it?" That is the
exact difficulty between us. I say that Judge Douglas and his
friends have changed it from the position in which our fathers
originally placed it. I say, in the way our father's originally
left the slavery question, the institution was in the course of
ultimate extinction, and the public mind rested in the belief
that it was in the course of ultimate extinction. I say when
this government was first established it was the policy of its
founders to prohibit the spread of slavery into the new
Territories of the United States, where it had not existed. But
Judge Douglas and his friends have broken up that policy, and
placed it upon a new basis, by which it is to become national and
perpetual. All I have asked or desired anywhere is that it
should be placed back again upon the basis that the fathers of
our government originally placed it upon. I have no doubt that
it would become extinct, for all time to come, if we but
readopted the policy of the fathers, by restricting it to the
limits it has already covered, restricting it from the new

I do not wish to dwell at great length on this branch of the
subject at this time, but allow me to repeat one thing that I
have stated before. Brooks--the man who assaulted Senator Sumner
on the floor of the Senate, and who was complimented with
dinners, and silver pitchers, and gold-headed canes, and a good
many other things for that feat--in one of his speeches declared
that when this government was originally established, nobody
expected that the institution of slavery would last until this
day. That was but the opinion of one man, but it was such an
opinion as we can never get from Judge Douglas or anybody in
favor of slavery, in the North, at all. You can sometimes get it
from a Southern man. He said at the same time that the framers
of our government did not have the knowledge that experience has
taught us; that experience and the invention of the cotton-gin
have taught us that the perpetuation of slavery is a necessity.
He insisted, therefore, upon its being changed from the basis
upon which the fathers of the government left it to the basis of
its perpetuation and nationalization.

I insist that this is the difference between Judge Douglas and
myself,--that Judge Douglas is helping that change along. I
insist upon this government being placed where our fathers
originally placed it.

I remember Judge Douglas once said that he saw the evidences on
the statute books of Congress of a policy in the origin of
government to divide slavery and freedom by a geographical line;
that he saw an indisposition to maintain that policy, and
therefore he set about studying up a way to settle the
institution on the right basis,--the basis which he thought it
ought to have been placed upon at first; and in that speech he
confesses that he seeks to place it, not upon the basis that the
fathers placed it upon, but upon one gotten up on "original
principles." When he asks me why we cannot get along with it in
the attitude where our fathers placed it, he had better clear up
the evidences that he has himself changed it from that basis,
that he has himself been chiefly instrumental in changing the
policy of the fathers. Any one who will read his speech of the
22d of last March will see that he there makes an open
confession, showing that he set about fixing the institution upon
an altogether different set of principles. I think I have fully
answered him when he asks me why we cannot let it alone upon the
basis where our fathers left it, by showing that he has himself
changed the whole policy of the government in that regard.

Now, fellow-citizens, in regard to this matter about a contract
that was made between Judge Trumbull and myself, and all that
long portion of Judge Douglas's speech on this subject,--I wish
simply to say what I have said to him before, that he cannot know
whether it is true or not, and I do know that there is not a word
of truth in it. And I have told him so before. I don't want any
harsh language indulged in, but I do not know how to deal with
this persistent insisting on a story that I know to be utterly
without truth. It used to be a fashion amongst men that when a
charge was made, some sort of proof was brought forward to
establish it, and if no proof was found to exist, the charge was
dropped. I don't know how to meet this kind of an argument. I
don't want to have a fight with Judge Douglas, and I have no way
of making an argument up into the consistency of a corn-cob and
stopping his mouth with it. All I can do is--good-humoredly--to
say that, from the beginning to the end of all that story about a
bargain between Judge Trumbull and myself, there is not a word of
truth in it. I can only ask him to show some sort of evidence of
the truth of his story. He brings forward here and reads from
what he contends is a speech by James H. Matheny, charging such
a bargain between Trumbull and myself. My own opinion is that
Matheny did do some such immoral thing as to tell a story that he
knew nothing about. I believe he did. I contradicted it
instantly, and it has been contradicted by Judge Trumbull, while
nobody has produced any proof, because there is none. Now,
whether the speech which the Judge brings forward here is really
the one Matheny made, I do not know, and I hope the Judge will
pardon me for doubting the genuineness of this document, since
his production of those Springfield resolutions at Ottawa. I do
not wish to dwell at any great length upon this matter. I can
say nothing when a long story like this is told, except it is not
true, and demand that he who insists upon it shall produce some
proof. That is all any man can do, and I leave it in that way,
for I know of no other way of dealing with it.

[In an argument on the lines of: "Yes, you did.--No, I did
not." It bears on the former to prove his point, not on the
negative to "prove" that he did not--even if he easily can do

The Judge has gone over a long account of the old Whig and
Democratic parties, and it connects itself with this charge
against Trumbull and myself. He says that they agreed upon a
compromise in regard to the slavery question in 1850; that in a
National Democratic Convention resolutions were passed to abide
by that compromise as a finality upon the slavery question. He
also says that the Whig party in National Convention agreed to
abide by and regard as a finality the Compromise of 1850. I
understand the Judge to be altogether right about that; I
understand that part of the history of the country as stated by
him to be correct I recollect that I, as a member of that party,
acquiesced in that compromise. I recollect in the Presidential
election which followed, when we had General Scott up for the
presidency, Judge Douglas was around berating us Whigs as
Abolitionists, precisely as he does to-day,--not a bit of
difference. I have often heard him. We could do nothing when
the old Whig party was alive that was not Abolitionism, but it
has got an extremely good name since it has passed away.

[It almost a natural law that, when dead--no matter how bad we
were--we are automatically beatified.]

When that Compromise was made it did not repeal the old Missouri
Compromise. It left a region of United States territory half as
large as the present territory of the United States, north of the
line of 36 degrees 30 minutes, in which slavery was prohibited by
Act of Congress. This Compromise did not repeal that one. It
did not affect or propose to repeal it. But at last it became
Judge Douglas's duty, as he thought (and I find no fault with
him), as Chairman of the Committee on Territories, to bring in a
bill for the organization of a territorial government,--first of
one, then of two Territories north of that line. When he did so,
it ended in his inserting a provision substantially repealing the
Missouri Compromise. That was because the Compromise of 1850 had
not repealed it. And now I ask why he could not have let that
Compromise alone? We were quiet from the agitation of the
slavery question. We were making no fuss about it. All had
acquiesced in the Compromise measures of 1850. We never had been
seriously disturbed by any Abolition agitation before that
period. When he came to form governments for the Territories
north of the line of 36 degrees 30 minutes, why could he not have
let that matter stand as it was standing? Was it necessary to
the organization of a Territory? Not at all. Iowa lay north of
the line, and had been organized as a Territory and come into the
Union as a State without disturbing that Compromise. There was
no sort of necessity for destroying it to organize these
Territories. But, gentlemen, it would take up all my time to
meet all the little quibbling arguments of Judge Douglas to show
that the Missouri Compromise was repealed by the Compromise of
1850. My own opinion is, that a careful investigation of all the
arguments to sustain the position that that Compromise was
virtually repealed by the Compromise of 1850 would show that they
are the merest fallacies. I have the report that Judge Douglas
first brought into Congress at the time of the introduction of
the Nebraska Bill, which in its original form did not repeal the
Missouri Compromise, and he there expressly stated that he had
forborne to do so because it had not been done by the Compromise
of 1850. I close this part of the discussion on my part by
asking him the question again, "Why, when we had peace under the
Missouri Compromise, could you not have let it alone?"

In complaining of what I said in my speech at Springfield, in
which he says I accepted my nomination for the senatorship
(where, by the way, he is at fault, for if he will examine it, he
will find no acceptance in it), he again quotes that portion in
which I said that "a house divided against itself cannot stand."
Let me say a word in regard to that matter.

He tries to persuade us that there must be a variety in the
different institutions of the States of the Union; that that
variety necessarily proceeds from the variety of soil, climate,
of the face of the country, and the difference in the natural
features of the States. I agree to all that. Have these very
matters ever produced any difficulty amongst us? Not at all.
Have we ever had any quarrel over the fact that they have laws in
Louisiana designed to regulate the commerce that springs from the
production of sugar? Or because we have a different class
relative to the production of flour in this State? Have they
produced any differences? Not at all. They are the very cements
of this Union. They don't make the house a house divided against
itself. They are the props that hold up the house and sustain
the Union.

But has it been so with this element of slavery? Have we not
always had quarrels and difficulties over it? And when will we
cease to have quarrels over it? Like causes produce like
effects. It is worth while to observe that we have generally had
comparative peace upon the slavery question, and that there has
been no cause for alarm until it was excited by the effort to
spread it into new territory. Whenever it has been limited to
its present bounds, and there has been no effort to spread it,
there has been peace. All the trouble and convulsion has
proceeded from efforts to spread it over more territory. It was
thus at the date of the Missouri Compromise. It was so again
with the annexation of Texas; so with the territory acquired by
the Mexican war; and it is so now. Whenever there has been an
effort to spread it, there has been agitation and resistance.
Now, I appeal to this audience (very few of whom are my political
friends), as national men, whether we have reason to expect that
the agitation in regard to this subject will cease while the
causes that tend to reproduce agitation are actively at work?
Will not the same cause that produced agitation in 1820, when the
Missouri Compromise was formed, that which produced the agitation
upon the annexation of Texas, and at other times, work out the
same results always? Do you think that the nature of man will be
changed, that the same causes that produced agitation at one time
will not have the same effect at another?

This has been the result so far as my observation of the slavery
question and my reading in history extends. What right have we
then to hope that the trouble will cease,--that the agitation
will come to an end,--until it shall either be placed back where
it originally stood, and where the fathers originally placed it,
or, on the other hand, until it shall entirely master all
opposition? This is the view I entertain, and this is the reason
why I entertained it, as Judge Douglas has read from my
Springfield speech.

Now, my friends, there is one other thing that I feel myself
under some sort of obligation to mention. Judge Douglas has here
to-day--in a very rambling way, I was about saying--spoken of the
platforms for which he seeks to hold me responsible. He says,
"Why can't you come out and make an open avowal of principles in
all places alike?" and he reads from an advertisement that he
says was used to notify the people of a speech to be made by
Judge Trumbull at Waterloo. In commenting on it he desires to
know whether we cannot speak frankly and manfully, as he and his
friends do. How, I ask, do his friends speak out their own
sentiments? A Convention of his party in this State met on the
21st of April at Springfield, and passed a set of resolutions
which they proclaim to the country as their platform. This does
constitute their platform, and it is because Judge Douglas claims
it is his platform--that these are his principles and purposes--
that he has a right to declare he speaks his sentiments "frankly
and manfully." On the 9th of June Colonel John Dougherty,
Governor Reynolds, and others, calling themselves National
Democrats, met in Springfield and adopted a set of resolutions
which are as easily understood, as plain and as definite in
stating to the country and to the world what they believed in and
would stand upon, as Judge Douglas's platform Now, what is the
reason that Judge Douglas is not willing that Colonel Dougherty
and Governor Reynolds should stand upon their own written and
printed platform as well as he upon his? Why must he look
farther than their platform when he claims himself to stand by
his platform?

Again, in reference to our platform: On the 16th of June the
Republicans had their Convention and published their platform,
which is as clear and distinct as Judge Douglas's. In it they
spoke their principles as plainly and as definitely to the world.
What is the reason that Judge Douglas is not willing I should
stand upon that platform? Why must he go around hunting for some
one who is supporting me or has supported me at some time in his
life, and who has said something at some time contrary to that
platform? Does the Judge regard that rule as a good one? If it
turn out that the rule is a good one for me--that I am
responsible for any and every opinion that any man has expressed
who is my friend,--then it is a good rule for him. I ask, is it
not as good a rule for him as it is for me? In my opinion, it is
not a good rule for either of us. Do you think differently,

[Mr. DOUGLAS: I do not.]

Judge Douglas says he does not think differently. I am glad of
it. Then can he tell me why he is looking up resolutions of five
or six years ago, and insisting that they were my platform,
notwithstanding my protest that they are not, and never were my
platform, and my pointing out the platform of the State
Convention which he delights to say nominated me for the Senate?
I cannot see what he means by parading these resolutions, if it
is not to hold me responsible for them in some way. If he says
to me here that he does not hold the rule to be good, one way or
the other, I do not comprehend how he could answer me more fully
if he answered me at greater length. I will therefore put in as
my answer to the resolutions that he has hunted up against me,
what I, as a lawyer, would call a good plea to a bad declaration.
I understand that it is an axiom of law that a poor plea may be a
good plea to a bad declaration. I think that the opinions the
Judge brings from those who support me, yet differ from me, is a
bad declaration against me; but if I can bring the same things
against him, I am putting in a good plea to that kind of
declaration, and now I propose to try it.

At Freeport, Judge Douglas occupied a large part of his time in
producing resolutions and documents of various sorts, as I
understood, to make me somehow responsible for them; and I
propose now doing a little of the same sort of thing for him. In
1850 a very clever gentleman by the name of Thompson Campbell, a
personal friend of Judge Douglas and myself, a political friend
of Judge Douglas and opponent of mine, was a candidate for
Congress in the Galena District. He was interrogated as to his
views on this same slavery question. I have here before me the
interrogatories, and Campbell's answers to them--I will read


"1st. Will you, if elected, vote for and cordially support a
bill prohibiting slavery in the Territories of the United States?

"2d. Will you vote for and support a bill abolishing slavery in
the District of Columbia?

"3d. Will you oppose the admission of any Slave States which may
be formed out of Texas or the Territories?

"4th. Will you vote for and advocate the repeal of the Fugitive
Slave law passed at the recent session of Congress?

"5th. Will you advocate and vote for the election of a Speaker
of the House of Representatives who shall be willing to organize
the committees of that House so as to give the Free States their
just influence in the business of legislation?

"6th. What are your views, not only as to the constitutional
right of Congress to prohibit the slave-trade between the States,
but also as to the expediency of exercising that right

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