The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, v3
Abraham Lincoln

Part 1 out of 3

This etext was produced by David Widger





In the Senatorial Campaign of 1858 in Illinois


[The following speech was delivered at Springfield, Ill., at the
close of the Republican State Convention held at that time and
place, and by which Convention Mr. LINCOLN had been named as
their candidate for United States Senator. Mr. DOUGLAS was not

know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better
judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the
fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object
and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation.
Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only
not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will
not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. "A
house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this
government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the
house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It
will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the
opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and
place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it
is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will
push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the
States, old as well as new, North as well as South.

Have we no tendency to the latter condition?

Let any one who doubts, carefully contemplate that now almost
complete legal combination-piece of machinery, so to speak
compounded of the Nebraska doctrine and the Dred Scott decision.
Let him consider, not only what work the machinery is adapted to
do, and how well adapted, but also let him study the history of
its construction, and trace, if he can, or rather fail, if he
can, to trace the evidences of design, and concert of action,
among its chief architects, from the beginning.

The new year of 1854 found slavery excluded from more than half
the States by State Constitutions, and from most of the National
territory by Congressional prohibition. Four days later,
commenced the struggle which ended in repealing that
Congressional prohibition. This opened all the National
territory to slavery, and was the first point gained.

But, so far, Congress only had acted, and an indorsement by the
people, real or apparent, was indispensable to save the point
already gained, and give chance for more.

This necessity had not been overlooked, but had been provided
for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of "squatter
sovereignty," otherwise called "sacred right of self-government,"
which latter phrase, though expressive of the only rightful basis
of any government, was so perverted in this attempted use of it
as to amount to just this: That if any one man choose to enslave
another, no third man shall be allowed to object. That argument
was incorporated into the Nebraska Bill itself, in the language
which follows:

"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."

Then opened the roar of loose declamation in favor of "squatter
sovereignty," and "sacred right of self-government." "But," said
opposition members, "let us amend the bill so as to expressly
declare that the people of the Territory may exclude slavery."
"Not we," said the friends of the measure, and down they voted
the amendment.

While the Nebraska Bill was passing through Congress, a law case,
involving the question of a negro's freedom, by reason of his
owner having voluntarily taken him first into a free State, and
then into a territory covered by the Congressional Prohibition,
and held him as a slave for a long time in each, was passing
through the United States Circuit Court for the District of
Missouri; and both Nebraska Bill and lawsuit were brought to a
decision in the same month of May, 1854. The negro's name was
"Dred Scott," which name now designates the decision finally made
in the case. Before the then next Presidential election, the law
case came to, and was argued in, the Supreme Court of the United
States; but the decision of it was deferred until after the
election. Still, before the election, Senator Trumbull, on the
floor of the Senate, requested the leading advocate of the
Nebraska Bill to state his opinion whether the people of a
territory can constitutionally exclude slavery from their limits;
and the latter answers: "That is a question for the Supreme

The election came. Mr. Buchanan was elected, and the
indorsement, such as it was, secured. That was the second point
gained. The indorsement, however, fell short of a clear popular
majority by nearly four hundred thousand votes,(approximately 10%
of the vote) and so, perhaps, was not overwhelmingly reliable and
satisfactory. The outgoing President, in his last annual
message, as impressively as possible echoed back upon the people
the weight and authority of the indorsement. The Supreme Court
met again, did not announce their decision, but ordered a
reargument. The Presidential inauguration came, and still no
decision of the court; but the incoming President, in his
inaugural address, fervently exhorted the people to abide by the
forth-coming decision, whatever it might be. Then, in a few
days, came the decision.

The reputed author of the Nebraska Bill finds an early occasion
to make a speech at this capital indorsing the Dred Scott
decision, and vehemently denouncing all opposition to it. The
new President, too, seizes the early occasion of the Silliman
letter to indorse and strongly construe that decision, and to
express his astonishment that any different view had ever been

At length a squabble springs up between the President and the
author of the Nebraska Bill, on the mere question of fact,
whether the Lecompton Constitution was or was not in any just
sense made by the people of Kansas; and in that quarrel the
latter declares that all he wants is a fair vote for the people,
and that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up.
I do not understand his declaration, that he cares not whether
slavery be voted down or voted up, to be intended by him other
than as an apt definition of the policy he would impress upon the
public mind,--the principle for which he declares he has suffered
so much, and is ready to suffer to the end. And well may he
cling to that principle! If he has any parental feeling, well
may he cling to it. That principle is the only shred left of his
original Nebraska doctrine. Under the Dred Scott decision
"squatter sovereignty" squatted out of existence, tumbled down
like temporary scaffolding; like the mould at the foundry, served
through one blast, and fell back into loose sand; helped to carry
an election, and then was kicked to the winds. His late joint
struggle with the Republicans, against the Lecompton
Constitution, involves nothing of the original Nebraska doctrine.
That struggle was made on a point--the right of a people to make
their own constitution--upon which he and the Republicans have
never differed.

The several points of the Dred Scott decision, in connection with
Senator Douglas's "care not" policy, constitute the piece of
machinery, in its present state of advancement. This was the
third point gained. The working points of that machinery are:

Firstly, That no negro slave, imported as such from Africa, and
no descendant of such slave, can ever be a citizen of any State,
in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the
United States. This point is made in order to deprive the negro,
in every possible event, of the benefit of that provision of the
United States Constitution which declares that "The citizens of
each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of
citizens in the several States."

Secondly, That, "subject to the Constitution of the United
States," neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature can
exclude slavery from any United States Territory. This point is
made in order that individual men may fill up the Territories
with slaves, without danger of losing them as property, and thus
to enhance the chances of permanency to the institution through
all the future.

Thirdly, That whether the holding a negro in actual slavery in a
free State makes him free, as against the holder, the United
States courts will not decide, but will leave to be decided by
the courts of any slave State the negro may be forced into by the
master. This point is made, not to be pressed immediately; but,
if acquiesced in for a while, and apparently indorsed by the
people at an election, then to sustain the logical conclusion
that what Dred Scott's master might lawfully do with Dred Scott,
in the free State of Illinois, every other master may lawfully do
with any other one, or one thousand slaves, in Illinois, or in
any other free State.

Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with it, the
Nebraska doctrine, or what is left of it, is to educate and mould
public opinion, at least Northern public opinion, not to care
whether slavery is voted down or voted up. This shows exactly
where we now are; and partially, also, wither we are tending.

It will throw additional light on the latter, to go back and run
the mind over the string of historical facts already stated.
Several things will now appear less dark and mysterious than they
did when they were transpiring. The people were to be left
"perfectly free," "subject only to the Constitution." What the
Constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not then see.
Plainly enough now,--it was an exactly fitted niche, for the Dred
Scott decision to afterward come in, and declare the perfect
freedom of the people to be just no freedom at all. Why was the
amendment, expressly declaring the right of the people, voted
down? Plainly enough now,--the adoption of it would have spoiled
the niche for the Dred Scott decision. Why was the court
decision held up? Why even a Senator's individual opinion
withheld, till after the Presidential election? Plainly enough
now,--the speaking out then would have damaged the "perfectly
free" argument upon which the election was to be carried. Why
the outgoing President's felicitation on the indorsement? Why the
delay of a reargument? Why the incoming President's advance
exhortation in favor of the decision? These things look like the
cautious patting and petting of a spirited horse preparatory to
mounting him, when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a
fall. And why the hasty after-indorsement of the decision by the
President and others?

We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are
the result of 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 scaffolding,--or, if a single piece
be lacking, we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and
prepared yet to bring such piece in,--in such a case, we find it
impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and
James all understood one another from the beginning, and all
worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow
was struck.

It should not be overlooked that by the Nebraska Bill the people
of a State as well as Territory were to be left "perfectly free,"
"subject only to the Constitution." Why mention a State? They
were legislating for Territories, and not for or about States.
Certainly the people of a State are and ought to be subject to
the Constitution of the United States; but why is mention of this
lugged into this merely Territorial law? Why are the people of a
Territory and the people of a State therein lumped together, and
their relation to the Constitution therefore treated as being
precisely the same? While the opinion of the court, by Chief
Justice Taney, in the Dred Scott case, and the separate opinions
of all the concurring Judges, expressly declare that the
Constitution of the United States neither permits Congress nor a
Territorial Legislature to exclude slavery from any United States
Territory, they all omit to declare whether or not the same
Constitution permits a State, or the people of a State, to
exclude it. Possibly, this is a mere omission; but who can be
quite sure, if McLean or Curtis had sought to get into the
opinion a declaration of unlimited power in the people of a State
to exclude slavery from their limits, just as Chase and Mace
sought to get such declaration, in behalf of the people of a
Territory, into the Nebraska Bill,--I ask, who can be quite sure
that it would not have been voted down in the one case as it had
been in the other? The nearest approach to the point of declaring
the power of a State over slavery is made by Judge Nelson. He
approaches it more than once, Using the precise idea, and almost
the language, too, of the Nebraska Act. On one occasion, his
exact language is, "Except in cases where the power is restrained
by the Constitution of the United States, the law of the State is
supreme over the subject of slavery within its jurisdiction." In
what cases the power of the States is so restrained by the United
States Constitution, is left an open question, precisely as the
same question, as to the restraint on the power of the
Territories, was left open in the Nebraska Act. Put this and
that together, and we have another nice little niche, which we
may, ere long, see filled with another Supreme Court decision,
declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not
permit a State to exclude slavery from its limits. And this may
especially be expected if the doctrine of "care not whether
slavery be voted down or voted up" shall gain upon the public
mind sufficiently to give promise that such a decision can be
maintained when made.

Such a decision is all that slavery now lacks of being alike
lawful in all the States. Welcome or unwelcome, such decision is
probably coming, and will soon be upon us, unless the power of
the present political dynasty shall be met and overthrown We
shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri
are on the verge of making their State free, and we shall awake
to the reality instead that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a
slave State. To meet and overthrow the power of that dynasty is
the work now before all those who would prevent that
consummation. That is what we have to do. How can we best do

There are those who denounce us openly to their friends, and yet
whisper to us softly that Senator Douglas is the aptest
instrument there is with which to effect that object. They wish
us to infer all, from the fact that he now has a little quarrel
with the present head of the dynasty, and that he has regularly
voted with us on a single point, upon which he and we have never
differed. They remind us that he is a great man, and that the
largest of us are very small ones. Let this be granted. But "a
living dog is better than a dead lion." Judge Douglas, if not a
dead lion, for this work is at least a caged and toothless one.
How can he oppose the advances of slavery? He don't care
anything about it. His avowed mission is impressing the "public
heart" to care nothing about it. A leading Douglas Democratic
newspaper thinks Douglas's superior talent will be needed to
resist the revival of the African slave trade. Does Douglas
believe an effort to revive that trade is approaching? He has
not said so. Does he really think so? But if it is, how can he
resist it? For years he has labored to prove it a sacred right
of white men to take negro slaves into the new Territories. Can
he possibly show that it is less a sacred right to buy them where
they can be bought cheapest? And unquestionably they can be
bought cheaper in Africa than in Virginia. He has done all in
his power to reduce the whole question of slavery to one of a
mere right of property; and, as such, how can he oppose the
foreign slave trade, how can he refuse that trade in that
"property" shall be "perfectly free,"--unless he does it as a
protection to the home production? And as the home producers
will probably not ask the protection, he will be wholly without a
ground of opposition.

Senator Douglas holds, we know, that a man may rightfully be
wiser to-day than he was yesterday; that he may rightfully change
when he finds himself wrong. But can we, for that reason, run
ahead, and infer that he will make any particular change, of
which he himself has given no intimation? Can we safely base our
action upon any such vague inference? Now, as ever, I wish not
to misrepresent Judge Douglas's position, question his motives,
or do aught that can be personally offensive to him. Whenever,
if ever, he and we can come together on principle so that our
cause may have assistance from his great ability, I hope to have
interposed no adventitious obstacles. But clearly he is not now
with us; he does not pretend to be,--he does not promise ever to

Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by, its own
undoubted friends,--those whose hands are free, whose hearts are
in the work, who do care for the result. Two years ago the
Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand
strong. We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a
common danger, with every external circumstance against us. Of
strange, discordant, and even hostile elements we gathered from
the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under
the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered
enemy. Did we brave all then to falter now,--now, when that same
enemy is wavering, dissevered, and belligerent? The result is
not doubtful. We shall not fail; if we stand firm, we shall not
fail. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but,
sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.





[Mr. LINCOLN was introduced by C. L. Wilson, Esq., and as he made
his appearance he was greeted with a perfect storm of applause.
For some moments the enthusiasm continued unabated. At last,
when by a wave of his hand partial silence was restored, Mr.
LINCOLN said,]

MY FELLOW-CITIZENS:--On yesterday evening, upon the occasion of
the reception given to Senator Douglas, I was furnished with a
seat very convenient for hearing him, and was otherwise very
courteously treated by him and his friends, and for which I thank
him and them. During the course of his remarks my name was
mentioned in such a way as, I suppose, renders it at least not
improper that I should make some sort of reply to him. I shall
not attempt to follow him in the precise order in which he
addressed the assembled multitude upon that occasion, though I
shall perhaps do so in the main.

There was one question to which he asked the attention of the
crowd, which I deem of somewhat less importance--at least of
propriety--for me to dwell upon than the others, which he brought
in near the close of his speech, and which I think it would not
be entirely proper for me to omit attending to, and yet if I were
not to give some attention to it now, I should probably forget it
altogether. While I am upon this subject, allow me to say that I
do not intend to indulge in that inconvenient mode sometimes
adopted in public speaking, of reading from documents; but I
shall depart from that rule so far as to read a little scrap from
his speech, which notices this first topic of which I shall
speak,--that is, provided I can find it in the paper:

"I have made up my mind to appeal to the people against the
combination that has been made against me; the Republican leaders
having formed an alliance, an unholy and unnatural alliance, with
a portion of unscrupulous Federal office-holders. I intend to
fight that allied army wherever I meet them. I know they deny
the alliance; but yet these men who are trying to divide the
Democratic party for the purpose of electing a Republican Senator
in my place are just as much the agents and tools of the
supporters of Mr. Lincoln. Hence I shall deal with this allied
army just as the Russians dealt with the Allies at Sebastopol,--
that is, the Russians did not stop to inquire, when they fired a
broadside, whether it hit an Englishman, a Frenchman, or a Turk.
Nor will I stop to inquire, nor shall I hesitate, whether my
blows shall hit the Republican leaders or their allies, who are
holding the Federal offices, and yet acting in concert with

Well, now, gentlemen, is not that very alarming? Just to think
of it! right at the outset of his canvass, I, a poor, kind,
amiable, intelligent gentleman,--I am to be slain in this way!
Why, my friend the Judge is not only, as it turns out, not a dead
lion, nor even a living one,--he is the rugged Russian Bear!

But if they will have it--for he says that we deny it--that there
is any such alliance, as he says there is,--and I don't propose
hanging very much upon this question of veracity,--but if he will
have it that there is such an alliance, that the Administration
men and we are allied, and we stand in the attitude of English,
French, and Turk, he occupying the position of the Russian, in
that case I beg that he will indulge us while we barely suggest
to him that these allies took Sebastopol.

Gentlemen, only a few more words as to this alliance. For my
part, I have to say that whether there be such an alliance
depends, so far as I know, upon what may be a right definition of
the term alliance. If for the Republican party to see the other
great party to which they are opposed divided among themselves,
and not try to stop the division, and rather be glad of it,--if
that is an alliance, I confess I am in; but if it is meant to be
said that the Republicans had formed an alliance going beyond
that, by which there is contribution of money or sacrifice of
principle on the one side or the other, so far as the Republican
party is concerned,--if there be any such thing, I protest that I
neither know anything of it, nor do I believe it. I will,
however, say,--as I think this branch of the argument is lugged
in,--I would before I leave it state, for the benefit of those
concerned, that one of those same Buchanan men did once tell me
of an argument that he made for his opposition to Judge Douglas.
He said that a friend of our Senator Douglas had been talking to
him, and had, among other things, said to him:

"...why, you don't want to beat Douglas?" "Yes," said he, "I do
want to beat him, and I will tell you why. I believe his
original Nebraska Bill was right in the abstract, but it was
wrong in the time that it was brought forward. It was wrong in
the application to a Territory in regard to which the question
had been settled; it was brought forward at a time when nobody
asked him; it was tendered to the South when the South had not
asked for it, but when they could not well refuse it; and for
this same reason he forced that question upon our party. It has
sunk the best men all over the nation, everywhere; and now, when
our President, struggling with the difficulties of this man's
getting up, has reached the very hardest point to turn in the
case, he deserts him and I am for putting him where he will
trouble us no more."

Now, gentlemen, that is not my argument; that is not my argument
at all. I have only been stating to you the argument of a
Buchanan man. You will judge if there is any force in it.

Popular sovereignty! Everlasting popular sovereignty! Let us
for a moment inquire into this vast matter of popular
sovereignty. What is popular sovereignty? We recollect that at
an early period in the history of this struggle there was another
name for the same thing,--"squatter sovereignty." It was not
exactly popular sovereignty, but squatter sovereignty. What do
those terms mean? What do those terms mean when used now? And
vast credit is taken by our friend the Judge in regard to his
support of it, when he declares the last years of his life have
been, and all the future years of his life shall be, devoted to
this matter of popular sovereignty. What is it? Why, it is the
sovereignty of the people! What was squatter sovereignty? I
suppose, if it had any significance at all, it was the right of
the people to govern themselves, to be sovereign in their own
affairs while they were squatted down in a country not their own,
while they had squatted on a Territory that did not belong to
them, in the sense that a State belongs to the people who inhabit
it, when it belonged to the nation; such right to govern
themselves was called "squatter sovereignty."

Now, I wish you to mark: What has become of that squatter
sovereignty? what has become of it? Can you get anybody to tell
you now that the people of a Territory have any authority to
govern themselves, in regard to this mooted question of slavery,
before they form a State constitution? No such thing at all;
although there is a general running fire, and although there has
been a hurrah made in every speech on that side, assuming that
policy had given the people of a Territory the right to govern
themselves upon this question, yet the point is dodged. To-day
it has been decided--no more than a year ago it was decided--by
the Supreme Court of the United States, and is insisted upon
to-day that the people of a Territory have no right to exclude
slavery from a Territory; that if any one man chooses to take
slaves into a Territory, all the rest of the people have no right
to keep them out. This being so, and this decision being made
one of the points that the Judge approved, and one in the
approval of which he says he means to keep me down,--put me down
I should not say, for I have never been up,--he says he is in
favor of it, and sticks to it, and expects to win his battle on
that decision, which says that there is no such thing as squatter
sovereignty, but that any one man may take slaves into a
Territory, and all the other men in the Territory may be opposed
to it, and yet by reason of the Constitution they cannot prohibit
it. When that is so, how much is left of this vast matter of
squatter sovereignty, I should like to know?

When we get back, we get to the point of the right of the people
to make a constitution. Kansas was settled, for example, in
1854. It was a Territory yet, without having formed a
constitution, in a very regular way, for three years. All this
time negro slavery could be taken in by any few individuals, and
by that decision of the Supreme Court, which the Judge approves,
all the rest of the people cannot keep it out; but when they come
to make a constitution, they may say they will not have slavery.
But it is there; they are obliged to tolerate it some way, and
all experience shows it will be so, for they will not take the
negro slaves and absolutely deprive the owners of them. All
experience shows this to be so. All that space of time that runs
from the beginning of the settlement of the Territory until there
is sufficiency of people to make a State constitution,--all that
portion of time popular sovereignty is given up. The seal is
absolutely put down upon it by the court decision, and Judge
Douglas puts his own upon the top of that; yet he is appealing to
the people to give him vast credit for his devotion to popular

Again, when we get to the question of the right of the people to
form a State constitution as they please, to form it with slavery
or without slavery, if that is anything new, I confess I don't
know it. Has there ever been a time when anybody said that any
other than the people of a Territory itself should form a
constitution? What is now in it that Judge Douglas should have
fought several years of his life, and pledge himself to fight all
the remaining years of his life for? Can Judge Douglas find
anybody on earth that said that anybody else should form a
constitution for a people? [A voice, "Yes."] Well, I should like
you to name him; I should like to know who he was. [Same voice,
"John Calhoun."]

No, sir, I never heard of even John Calhoun saying such a thing.
He insisted on the same principle as Judge Douglas; but his mode
of applying it, in fact, was wrong. It is enough for my purpose
to ask this crowd whenever a Republican said anything against it.
They never said anything against it, but they have constantly
spoken for it; and whoever will undertake to examine the
platform, and the speeches of responsible men of the party, and
of irresponsible men, too, if you please, will be unable to find
one word from anybody in the Republican ranks opposed to that
popular sovereignty which Judge Douglas thinks that he has
invented. I suppose that Judge Douglas will claim, in a little
while, that he is the inventor of the idea that the people should
govern themselves; that nobody ever thought of such a thing until
he brought it forward. We do not remember that in that old
Declaration of Independence it is said that:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights,
governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers
from the consent of the governed."

There is the origin of popular sovereignty. Who, then, shall
come in at this day and claim that he invented it?

The Lecompton Constitution connects itself with this question,
for it is in this matter of the Lecompton Constitution that our
friend Judge Douglas claims such vast credit. I agree that in
opposing the Lecompton Constitution, so far as I can perceive, he
was right. I do not deny that at all; and, gentlemen, you will
readily see why I could not deny it, even if I wanted to. But I
do not wish to; for all the Republicans in the nation opposed it,
and they would have opposed it just as much without Judge
Douglas's aid as with it. They had all taken ground against it
long before he did. Why, the reason that he urges against that
constitution I urged against him a year before. I have the
printed speech in my hand. The argument that he makes, why that
constitution should not be adopted, that the people were not
fairly represented nor allowed to vote, I pointed out in a speech
a year ago, which I hold in my hand now, that no fair chance was
to be given to the people. ["Read it, Read it."] I shall not
waste your time by trying to read it. ["Read it, Read it."]
Gentlemen, reading from speeches is a very tedious business,
particularly for an old man that has to put on spectacles, and
more so if the man be so tall that he has to bend over to the

A little more, now, as to this matter of popular sovereignty and
the Lecompton Constitution. The Lecompton Constitution, as the
Judge tells us, was defeated. The defeat of it was a good thing
or it was not. He thinks the defeat of it was a good thing, and
so do I, and we agree in that. Who defeated it?

[A voice: Judge Douglas.]

Yes, he furnished himself, and if you suppose he controlled the
other Democrats that went with him, he furnished three votes;
while the Republicans furnished twenty.

That is what he did to defeat it. In the House of
Representatives he and his friends furnished some twenty votes,
and the Republicans furnished ninety odd. Now, who was it that
did the work?

[A voice: Douglas.]

Why, yes, Douglas did it! To be sure he did.

Let us, however, put that proposition another way. The
Republicans could not have done it without Judge Douglas. Could
he have done it without them? Which could have come the nearest
to doing it without the other?

[A voice: Who killed the bill?]

[Another voice: Douglas.]

Ground was taken against it by the Republicans long before
Douglas did it. The proportion of opposition to that measure is
about five to one.

[A voice: Why don't they come out on it?]

You don't know what you are talking about, my friend. I am quite
willing to answer any gentleman in the crowd who asks an
intelligent question.

Now, who in all this country has ever found any of our friends of
Judge Douglas's way of thinking, and who have acted upon this
main question, that has ever thought of uttering a word in behalf
of Judge Trumbull?

[A voice: We have.]

I defy you to show a printed resolution passed in a Democratic
meeting--I take it upon myself to defy any man to show a printed
resolution of a Democratic meeting, large or small--in favor of
Judge Trumbull, or any of the five to one Republicans who beat
that bill. Everything must be for the Democrats! They did
everything, and the five to the one that really did the thing
they snub over, and they do not seem to remember that they have
an existence upon the face of the earth.

Gentlemen, I fear that I shall become tedious. I leave this
branch of the subject to take hold of another. I take up that
part of Judge Douglas's speech in which he respectfully attended
to me.

Judge Douglas made two points upon my recent speech at
Springfield. He says they are to be the issues of this campaign.
The first one of these points he bases upon the language in a
speech which I delivered at Springfield, which I believe I can
quote correctly from memory. I said there that "we are now far
into the fifth year since a policy was instituted for the avowed
object, and with the confident promise, of putting an end to
slavery agitation; under the operation of that policy, that
agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented."
"I believe it will not cease until a crisis shall have been
reached and passed. 'A house divided against itself cannot
stand.' I believe this government cannot endure permanently half
slave and half free." "I do not expect the Union to be
dissolved,"--I am quoting from my speech, "--I do not expect the
house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It
will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents
of slavery will arrest the spread of it and place it where the
public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of
ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward until
it shall become alike lawful in all the States, north as well as

What is the paragraph? In this paragraph, which I have quoted in
your hearing, and to which I ask the attention of all, Judge
Douglas thinks he discovers great political heresy. I want your
attention particularly to what he has inferred from it. He says
I am in favor of making all the States of this Union uniform in
all their internal regulations; that in all their domestic
concerns I am in favor of making them entirely uniform. He draws
this inference from the language I have quoted to you. He says
that I am in favor of making war by the North upon the South for
the extinction of slavery; that I am also in favor of inviting
(as he expresses it) the South to a war upon the North for the
purpose of nationalizing slavery. Now, it is singular enough, if
you will carefully read that passage over, that I did not say
that I was in favor of anything in it. I only said what I
expected would take place. I made a prediction only,--it may
have been a foolish one, perhaps. I did not even say that I
desired that slavery should be put in course of ultimate
extinction. I do say so now, however, so there need be no longer
any difficulty about that. It may be written down in the great

Gentlemen, Judge Douglas informed you that this speech of mine
was probably carefully prepared. I admit that it was. I am not
master of language; I have not a fine education; I am not capable
of entering into a disquisition upon dialectics, as I believe you
call it; but I do not believe the language I employed bears any
such construction as Judge Douglas puts upon it. But I don't
care about a quibble in regard to words. I know what I meant,
and I will not leave this crowd in doubt, if I can explain it to
them, what I really meant in the use of that paragraph.

I am not, in the first place, unaware that this government has
endured eighty-two years half slave and half free. I know that.
I am tolerably well acquainted with the history of the country,
and I know that it has endured eighty-two years half slave and
half free. I believe--and that is what I meant to allude to
there--I believe it has endured because during all that time,
until the introduction of the Nebraska Bill, the public mind did
rest all the time in the belief that slavery was in course of
ultimate extinction. That was what gave us the rest that we had
through that period of eighty-two years,--at least, so I believe.
I have always hated slavery, I think, as much as any
Abolitionist,--I have been an Old Line Whig,--I have always hated
it; but I have always been quiet about it until this new era of
the introduction of the Nebraska Bill began. I always believed
that everybody was against it, and that it was in course of
ultimate extinction. [Pointing to Mr. Browning, who stood near
by.] Browning thought so; the great mass of the nation have
rested in the belief that slavery was in course of ultimate
extinction. They had reason so to believe.

The adoption of the Constitution and its attendant history led
the people to believe so; and that such was the belief of the
framers of the Constitution itself, why did those old men, about
the time of the adoption of the Constitution, decree that slavery
should not go into the new Territory, where it had not already
gone? Why declare that within twenty years the African slave
trade, by which slaves are supplied, might be cut off by
Congress? Why were all these acts? I might enumerate more of
these acts; but enough. What were they but a clear indication
that the framers of the Constitution intended and expected the
ultimate extinction of that institution? And now, when I say, as
I said in my speech that Judge Douglas has quoted from, when I
say that I think the opponents of slavery will resist the farther
spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest with
the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction, I only
mean to say that they will place it where the founders of this
government originally placed it.

I have said a hundred times, and I have now no inclination to
take it back, that I believe there is no right, and ought to be
no inclination, in the people of the free States to enter into
the slave States and interfere with the question of slavery at
all. I have said that always; Judge Douglas has heard me say it,
if not quite a hundred times, at least as good as a hundred
times; and when it is said that I am in favor of interfering with
slavery where it exists, I know it is unwarranted by anything I
have ever intended, and, as I believe, by anything I have ever
said. If, by any means, I have ever used language which could
fairly be so construed (as, however, I believe I never have), I
now correct it.

So much, then, for the inference that Judge Douglas draws, that I
am in favor of setting the sections at war with one another. I
know that I never meant any such thing, and I believe that no
fair mind can infer any such thing from anything I have ever

Now, in relation to his inference that I am in favor of a general
consolidation of all the local institutions of the various
States. I will attend to that for a little while, and try to
inquire, if I can, how on earth it could be that any man could
draw such an inference from anything I said. I have said, very
many times, in Judge Douglas's hearing, that no man believed more
than I in the principle of self-government; that it lies at the
bottom of all my ideas of just government, from beginning to end.
I have denied that his use of that term applies properly. But
for the thing itself, I deny that any man has ever gone ahead of
me in his devotion to the principle, whatever he may have done in
efficiency in advocating it. I think that I have said it in your
hearing, that I believe each individual is naturally entitled to
do as he pleases with himself and the fruit of his labor, so far
as it in no wise interferes with any other man's rights; that
each community as a State has a right to do exactly as it pleases
with all the concerns within that State that interfere with the
right of no other State; and that the General Government, upon
principle, has no right to interfere with anything other than
that general class of things that does concern the whole. I have
said that at all times. I have said, as illustrations, that I do
not believe in the right of Illinois to interfere with the
cranberry laws of Indiana, the oyster laws of Virginia, or the
liquor laws of Maine. I have said these things over and over
again, and I repeat them here as my sentiments.

How is it, then, that Judge Douglas infers, because I hope to see
slavery put where the public mind shall rest in the belief that
it is in the course of ultimate extinction, that I am in favor of
Illinois going over and interfering with the cranberry laws of
Indiana? What can authorize him to draw any such inference?

I suppose there might be one thing that at least enabled him to
draw such an inference that would not be true with me or many
others: that is, because he looks upon all this matter of slavery
as an exceedingly little thing,--this matter of keeping one sixth
of the population of the whole nation in a state of oppression
and tyranny unequaled in the world. He looks upon it as being an
exceedingly little thing,--only equal to the question of the
cranberry laws of Indiana; as something having no moral question
in it; as something on a par with the question of whether a man
shall pasture his land with cattle, or plant it with tobacco; so
little and so small a thing that he concludes, if I could desire
that anything should be done to bring about the ultimate
extinction of that little thing, I must be in favor of bringing
about an amalgamation of all the other little things in the
Union. Now, it so happens--and there, I presume, is the
foundation of this mistake--that the Judge thinks thus; and it so
happens that there is a vast portion of the American people that
do not look upon that matter as being this very little thing.
They look upon it as a vast moral evil; they can prove it as such
by the writings of those who gave us the blessings of liberty
which we enjoy, and that they so looked upon it, and not as an
evil merely confining itself to the States where it is situated;
and while we agree that, by the Constitution we assented to, in
the States where it exists, we have no right to interfere with
it, because it is in the Constitution; and we are by both duty
and inclination to stick by that Constitution, in all its letter
and spirit, from beginning to end,

So much, then, as to my disposition--my wish to have all the
State legislatures blotted out, and to have one consolidated
government, and a uniformity of domestic regulations in all the
States, by which I suppose it is meant, if we raise corn here, we
must make sugar-cane grow here too, and we must make those which
grow North grow in the South. All this I suppose he understands
I am in favor of doing. Now, so much for all this nonsense; for
I must call it so. The Judge can have no issue with me on a
question of establishing uniformity in the domestic regulations
of the States.

A little now on the other point,--the Dred Scott decision.
Another of the issues he says that is to be made with me is upon
his devotion to the Dred Scott decision, and my opposition to it.

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

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

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

The sacredness that Judge Douglas throws around this decision is
a degree of sacredness that has never been before thrown around
any other decision. I have never heard of such a thing. Why,
decisions apparently contrary to that decision, or that good
lawyers thought were contrary to that decision, have been made by
that very court before. It is the first of its kind; it is an
astonisher in legal history. It is a new wonder of the world.
It is based upon falsehood in the main as to the facts;
allegations of facts upon which it stands are not facts at all in
many instances, and no decision made on any question--the first
instance of a decision made under so many unfavorable
circumstances--thus placed, has ever been held by the profession
as law, and it has always needed confirmation before the lawyers
regarded it as settled law. But Judge Douglas will have it that
all hands must take this extraordinary decision, made under these
extraordinary circumstances, and give their vote in Congress in
accordance with it, yield to it, and obey it in every possible
sense. Circumstances alter cases. Do not gentlemen here
remember the case of that same Supreme Court some twenty-five or
thirty years ago deciding that a National Bank was
constitutional? I ask, if somebody does not remember that a
National Bank was declared to be constitutional? Such is the
truth, whether it be remembered or not. The Bank charter ran
out, and a recharter was granted by Congress. That recharter was
laid before General Jackson. It was urged upon him, when he
denied the constitutionality of the Bank, that the Supreme Court
had decided that it was constitutional; and General Jackson then
said that the Supreme Court had no right to lay down a rule to
govern a coordinate branch of the government, the members of
which had sworn to support the Constitution; that each member had
sworn to support that Constitution as he understood it. I will
venture here to say that I have heard Judge Douglas say that he
approved of General Jackson for that act. What has now become of
all his tirade about "resistance of the Supreme Court"?

My fellow-citizens, getting back a little,--for I pass from these
points,--when Judge Douglas makes his threat of annihilation upon
the "alliance," he is cautious to say that that warfare of his is
to fall upon the leaders of the Republican party. Almost every
word he utters, and every distinction he makes, has its
significance. He means for the Republicans who do not count
themselves as leaders, to be his friends; he makes no fuss over
them; it is the leaders that he is making war upon. He wants it
understood that the mass of the Republican party are really his
friends. It is only the leaders that are doing something that
are intolerant, and that require extermination at his hands. As
this is dearly and unquestionably the light in which he presents
that matter, I want to ask your attention, addressing myself to
the Republicans here, that I may ask you some questions as to
where you, as the Republican party, would be placed if you
sustained Judge Douglas in his present position by a re-election?
I do not claim, gentlemen, to be unselfish; I do not pretend that
I would not like to go to the United States Senate,--I make no
such hypocritical pretense; but I do say to you that in this
mighty issue it is nothing to you--nothing to the mass of the
people of the nation,--whether or not Judge Douglas or myself
shall ever be heard of after this night; it may be a trifle to
either of us, but in connection with this mighty question, upon
which hang the destinies of the nation, perhaps, it is absolutely
nothing: but where will you be placed if you reindorse Judge
Douglas? Don't you know how apt he is, how exceedingly anxious
he is at all times, to seize upon anything and everything to
persuade you that something he has done you did yourselves? Why,
he tried to persuade you last night that our Illinois Legislature
instructed him to introduce the Nebraska Bill. There was nobody
in that Legislature ever thought of such a thing; and when he
first introduced the bill, he never thought of it; but still he
fights furiously for the proposition, and that he did it because
there was a standing instruction to our Senators to be always
introducing Nebraska bills. He tells you he is for the
Cincinnati platform, he tells you he is for the Dred Scott
decision. He tells you, not in his speech last night, but
substantially in a former speech, that he cares not if slavery is
voted up or down; he tells you the struggle on Lecompton is past;
it may come up again or not, and if it does, he stands where he
stood when, in spite of him and his opposition, you built up the
Republican party. If you indorse him, you tell him you do not
care whether slavery be voted up or down, and he will close or
try to close your mouths with his declaration, repeated by the
day, the week, the month, and the year. Is that what you mean?
[Cries of "No," one voice "Yes."] Yes, I have no doubt you who
have always been for him, if you mean that. No doubt of that,
soberly I have said, and I repeat it. I think, in the position
in which Judge Douglas stood in opposing the Lecompton
Constitution, he was right; he does not know that it will return,
but if it does we may know where to find him, and if it does not,
we may know where to look for him, and that is on the Cincinnati
platform. Now, I could ask the Republican party, after all the
hard names that Judge Douglas has called them by all his repeated
charges of their inclination to marry with and hug negroes; all
his declarations of Black Republicanism,--by the way, we are
improving, the black has got rubbed off,--but with all that, if
he be indorsed by Republican votes, where do you stand? Plainly,
you stand ready saddled, bridled, and harnessed, and waiting to
be driven over to the slavery extension camp of the nation,--just
ready to be driven over, tied together in a lot, to be driven
over, every man with a rope around his neck, that halter being
held by Judge Douglas. That is the question. If Republican men
have been in earnest in what they have done, I think they had
better not do it; but I think that the Republican party is made
up of those who, as far as they can peaceably, will oppose the
extension of slavery, and who will hope for its ultimate
extinction. If they believe it is wrong in grasping up the new
lands of the continent and keeping them from the settlement of
free white laborers, who want the land to bring up their families
upon; if they are in earnest, although they may make a mistake,
they will grow restless, and the time will come when they will
come back again and reorganize, if not by the same name, at least
upon the same principles as their party now has. It is better,
then, to save the work while it is begun. You have done the
labor; maintain it, keep it. If men choose to serve you, go with
them; but as you have made up your organization upon principle,
stand by it; for, as surely as God reigns over you, and has
inspired your mind, and given you a sense of propriety, and
continues to give you hope, so surely will you still cling to
these ideas, and you will at last come back again after your
wanderings, merely to do your work over again.

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

[A voice: "Three cheers for Lincoln".--The cheers were given
with a hearty good-will.]

I should say at least that that is a self-evident truth.

Now, it happens that we meet together once every year, sometimes
about the 4th of July, for some reason or other. These 4th of
July gatherings I suppose have their uses. If you will indulge
me, I will state what I suppose to be some of them.

We are now a mighty nation; we are thirty or about thirty
millions of people, and we own and inhabit about one fifteenth
part of the dry land of the whole earth. We run our memory back
over the pages of history for about eighty-two years, and we
discover that we were then a very small people in point of
numbers, vastly inferior to what we are now, with a vastly less
extent of country, with vastly less of everything we deem
desirable among men; we look upon the change as exceedingly
advantageous to us and to our posterity, and we fix upon
something that happened away back, as in some way or other being
connected with this rise of prosperity. We find a race of men
living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers;
they were iron men; they fought for the principle that they were
contending for; and we understood that by what they then did it
has followed that the degree of prosperity which we now enjoy has
come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves
of all the good done in this process of time, of how it was done
and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it;
and we go from these meetings in better humor with ourselves, we
feel more attached the one to the other, and more firmly bound to
the country we inhabit. In every way we are better men in the
age and race and country in which we live, for these
celebrations. But after we have done all this we have not yet
reached the whole. There is something else connected with it.
We have--besides these, men descended by blood from our
ancestors--among us perhaps half our people who are not
descendants at all of these men; they are men who have come from
Europe, German, Irish, French, and Scandinavian,--men that have
come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither
and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things.
If they look back through this history to trace their connection
with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot
carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make
themselves feel that they are part of us; but when they look
through that old Declaration of Independence, they find that
those old men say that "We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal"; and then they feel that that
moral sentiment, taught in that day, evidences their relation to
those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them,
and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood
of the blood, and flesh of the flesh, of the men who wrote that
Declaration; and so they are. That is the electric cord in that
Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving
men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as
the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the

Now, sirs, for the purpose of squaring things with this idea of
"don't care if slavery is voted up or voted down," for sustaining
the Dred Scott decision, for holding that the Declaration of
Independence did not mean anything at all, we have Judge Douglas
giving his exposition of what the Declaration of Independence
means, and we have him saying that the people of America are
equal to the people of England. According to his construction,
you Germans are not connected with it. Now, I ask you in all
soberness if all these things, if indulged in, if ratified, if
confirmed and indorsed, if taught to our children, and repeated
to them, do not tend to rub out the sentiment of liberty in the
country, and to transform this government into a government of
some other form. Those arguments that are made, that the
inferior race are to be treated with as much allowance as they
are capable of enjoying; that as much is to be done for them as
their condition will allow,--what are these arguments? They are
the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in
all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in
favor of kingcraft were of this class; they always bestrode the
necks of the people not that they wanted to do it, but because
the people were better off for being ridden. That is their
argument, and this argument of the Judge is the same old serpent
that says, You work, and I eat; you toil, and I will enjoy the
fruits of it. Turn in whatever way you will, whether it come
from the mouth of a king, an excuse for enslaving the people of
his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for
enslaving the men of another race, it is all the same old
serpent; and I hold, if that course of argumentation that is made
for the purpose of convincing the public mind that we should not
care about this should be granted, it does not stop with the
negro. I should like to know, if taking this old Declaration of
Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon
principle, and making exceptions to it, where will it stop? If
one man says it does not mean a negro, why not another say it
does not mean some other man? If that Declaration is not the
truth, let us get the statute book, in which we find it, and tear
it out! Who is so bold as to do it? If it is not true, let us
tear it out! [Cries of "No, no."] Let us stick to it, then; let
us stand firmly by it, then.

It may be argued that there are certain conditions that make
necessities and impose them upon us; and to the extent that a
necessity is imposed upon a man, he must submit to it. I think
that was the condition in which we found ourselves when we
established this government. We had slavery among us, we could
not get our Constitution unless we permitted them to remain in
slavery, we could not secure the good we did secure if we grasped
for more; and having by necessity submitted to that much, it does
not destroy the principle that is the charter of our liberties.
Let that charter stand as our standard.

My friend has said to me that I am a poor hand to quote
Scripture. I will try it again, however. It is said in one of
the admonitions of our Lord, "As your Father in heaven is
perfect, be ye also perfect." The Savior, I suppose, did not
expect that any human creature could be perfect as the Father in
heaven; but he said, "As your Father in heaven is perfect, be ye
also perfect." He set that up as a standard; and he who did most
towards reaching that standard attained the highest degree of
moral perfection. So I say in relation to the principle that all
men are created equal, let it be as nearly reached as we can. If
we cannot give freedom to every creature, let us do nothing that
will impose slavery upon any other creature. Let us then turn
this government back into the channel in which the framers of the
Constitution originally placed it. Let us stand firmly by each
other. If we do not do so, we are turning in the contrary
direction, that our friend Judge Douglas proposes--not
intentionally--as working in the traces tends to make this one
universal slave nation. He is one that runs in that direction,
and as such I resist him.

My friends, I have detained you about as long as I desired to do,
and I have only to say: Let us discard all this quibbling about
this man and the other man, this race and that race and the other
race being inferior, and therefore they must be placed in an
inferior position; discarding our standard that we have left us.
Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people
throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring
that all men are created equal.

My friends, I could not, without launching off upon some new
topic, which would detain you too long, continue to-night. I
thank you for this most extensive audience that you have
furnished me to-night. I leave you, hoping that the lamp of
liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a
doubt that all men are created free and equal.



(Mr. Douglas was not present.)

FELLOW-CITIZENS:--Another election, which is deemed an important
one, is approaching, and, as I suppose, the Republican party
will, without much difficulty, elect their State ticket. But in
regard to the Legislature, we, the Republicans, labor under some
disadvantages. In the first place, we have a Legislature to
elect upon an apportionment of the representation made several
years ago, when the proportion of the population was far greater
in the South (as compared with the North) than it now is; and
inasmuch as our opponents hold almost entire sway in the South,
and we a correspondingly large majority in the North, the fact
that we are now to be represented as we were years ago, when the
population was different, is to us a very great disadvantage. We
had in the year 1855, according to law, a census, or enumeration
of the inhabitants, taken for the purpose of a new apportionment
of representation. We know what a fair apportionment of
representation upon that census would give us. We know that it
could not, if fairly made, fail to give the Republican party from
six to ten more members of the Legislature than they can probably
get as the law now stands. It so happened at the last session of
the Legislature that our opponents, holding the control of both
branches of the Legislature, steadily refused to give us such an
apportionment as we were rightly entitled to have upon the census
already taken. The Legislature steadily refused to give us such
an apportionment as we were rightfully entitled to have upon the
census taken of the population of the State. The Legislature
would pass no bill upon that subject, except such as was at least
as unfair to us as the old one, and in which, in some instances,
two men in the Democratic regions were allowed to go as far
toward sending a member to the Legislature as three were in the
Republican regions. Comparison was made at the time as to
representative and senatorial districts, which completely
demonstrated that such was the fact. Such a bill was passed and
tendered to the Republican Governor for his signature; but,
principally for the reasons I have stated, he withheld his
approval, and the bill fell without becoming a law.

Another disadvantage under which we labor is that there are one
or two Democratic Senators who will be members of the next
Legislature, and will vote for the election of Senator, who are
holding over in districts in which we could, on all reasonable
calculation, elect men of our own, if we only had the chance of
an election. When we consider that there are but twenty-five
Senators in the Senate, taking two from the side where they
rightfully belong, and adding them to the other, is to us a
disadvantage not to be lightly regarded. Still, so it is; we
have this to contend with. Perhaps there is no ground of
complaint on our part. In attending to the many things involved
in the last general election for President, Governor, Auditor,
Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Members of
Congress, of the Legislature, County Officers, and so on, we
allowed these things to happen by want of sufficient attention,
and we have no cause to complain of our adversaries, so far as
this matter is concerned. But we have some cause to complain of
the refusal to give us a fair apportionment.

There is still another disadvantage under which we labor, and to
which I will ask your attention. It arises out of the relative
positions of the two persons who stand before the State as
candidates for the Senate. Senator Douglas is of world-wide
renown. All the anxious politicians of his party, or who have
been of his party for years past, have been looking upon him as
certainly, at no distant day, to be the President of the United
States. They have seen in his round, jolly, fruitful face
post-offices, land-offices, marshalships, and cabinet
appointments, charge-ships and foreign missions bursting and
sprouting out in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid hold of
by their greedy hands. And as they have been gazing upon this
attractive picture so long, they cannot, in the little
distraction that has taken place in the party, bring themselves
to give up the charming hope; but with greedier anxiety they rush
about him, sustain him, and give him marches, triumphal entries,
and receptions beyond what even in the days of his highest
prosperity they could have brought about in his favor. On the
contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my
poor, lean, lank face, nobody has ever seen that any cabbages
were sprouting out. These are disadvantages all, taken together,
that the Republicans labor under. We have to fight this battle
upon principle, and upon principle alone. I am, in a certain
sense, made the standard-bearer in behalf of the Republicans. I
was made so merely because there had to be some one so placed,--I
being in nowise preferable to any other one of twenty-five,
perhaps a hundred, we have in the Republican ranks. Then I say I
wish it to be distinctly understood and borne in mind that we
have to fight this battle without many--perhaps without any of
the external aids which are brought to bear against us. So I
hope those with whom I am surrounded have principle enough to
nerve themselves for the task, and leave nothing undone that can
be fairly done to bring about the right result.

After Senator Douglas left Washington, as his movements were made
known by the public prints, he tarried a considerable time in the
city of New York; and it was heralded that, like another
Napoleon, he was lying by and framing the plan of his campaign.
It was telegraphed to Washington City, and published in the
Union, that he was framing his plan for the purpose of going to
Illinois to pounce upon and annihilate the treasonable and
disunion speech which Lincoln had made here on the 16th of June.
Now, I do suppose that the Judge really spent some time in New
York maturing the plan of the campaign, as his friends heralded
for him. I have been able, by noting his movements since his
arrival in Illinois, to discover evidences confirmatory of that
allegation. I think I have been able to see what are the
material points of that plan. I will, for a little while, ask
your attention to some of them. What I shall point out, though
not showing the whole plan, are, nevertheless, the main points,
as I suppose.

They are not very numerous. The first is popular sovereignty.
The second and third are attacks upon my speech made on the 16th
of June. Out of these three points--drawing within the range of
popular sovereignty the question of the Lecompton Constitution--
he makes his principal assault. Upon these his successive
speeches are substantially one and the same. On this matter of
popular sovereignty I wish to be a little careful. Auxiliary to
these main points, to be sure, are their thunderings of cannon,
their marching and music, their fizzlegigs and fireworks; but I
will not waste time with them. They are but the little trappings
of the campaign.

Coming to the substance,--the first point, "popular sovereignty."
It is to be labeled upon the cars in which he travels; put upon
the hacks he rides in; to be flaunted upon the arches he passes
under, and the banners which wave over him. It is to be dished
up in as many varieties as a French cook can produce soups from
potatoes. Now, as this is so great a staple of the plan of the
campaign, it is worth while to examine it carefully; and if we
examine only a very little, and do not allow ourselves to be
misled, we shall be able to see that the whole thing is the most
arrant Quixotism that was ever enacted before a community. What
is the matter of popular sovereignty? The first thing, in order
to understand it, is to get a good definition of what it is, and
after that to see how it is applied.

I suppose almost every one knows that, in this controversy,
whatever has been said has had reference to the question of negro
slavery. We have not been in a controversy about the right of
the people to govern themselves in the ordinary matters of
domestic concern in the States and Territories. Mr. Buchanan, in
one of his late messages (I think when he sent up the Lecompton
Constitution) urged that the main point to which the public
attention had been directed was not in regard to the great
variety of small domestic matters, but was directed to the
question of negro slavery; and he asserts that if the people had
had a fair chance to vote on that question there was no
reasonable ground of objection in regard to minor questions.
Now, while I think that the people had not had given, or offered,
them a fair chance upon that slavery question, still, if there
had been a fair submission to a vote upon that main question, the
President's proposition would have been true to the utmost.
Hence, when hereafter I speak of popular sovereignty, I wish to
be understood as applying what I say to the question of slavery
only, not to other minor domestic matters of a Territory or a

Does Judge Douglas, when he says that several of the past years
of his life have been devoted to the question of "popular
sovereignty," and that all the remainder of his life shall be
devoted to it, does he mean to say that he has been devoting his
life to securing to the people of the Territories the right to
exclude slavery from the Territories? If he means so to say he
means to deceive; because he and every one knows that the
decision of the Supreme Court, which he approves and makes
especial ground of attack upon me for disapproving, forbids the
people of a Territory to exclude slavery. This covers the whole
ground, from the settlement of a Territory till it reaches the
degree of maturity entitling it to form a State Constitution. So
far as all that ground is concerned, the Judge is not sustaining
popular sovereignty, but absolutely opposing it. He sustains the
decision which declares that the popular will of the Territory
has no constitutional power to exclude slavery during their
territorial existence. This being so, the period of time from
the first settlement of a Territory till it reaches the point of
forming a State Constitution is not the thing that the Judge has
fought for or is fighting for, but, on the contrary, he has
fought for, and is fighting for, the thing that annihilates and
crushes out that same popular sovereignty.

Well, so much being disposed of, what is left? Why, he is
contending for the right of the people, when they come to make a
State Constitution, to make it for themselves, and precisely as
best suits themselves. I say again, that is quixotic. I defy
contradiction when I declare that the Judge can find no one to
oppose him on that proposition. I repeat, there is nobody
opposing that proposition on principle. Let me not be
misunderstood. I know that, with reference to the Lecompton
Constitution, I may be misunderstood; but when you understand me
correctly, my proposition will be true and accurate. Nobody is
opposing, or has opposed, the right of the people, when they form
a constitution, to form it for themselves. Mr. Buchanan and his
friends have not done it; they, too, as well as the Republicans
and the Anti-Lecompton Democrats, have not done it; but on the
contrary, they together have insisted on the right of the people
to form a constitution for themselves. The difference between
the Buchanan men on the one hand, and the Douglas men and the
Republicans on the other, has not been on a question of
principle, but on a question of fact.

The dispute was upon the question of fact, whether the Lecompton
Constitution had been fairly formed by the people or not. Mr.
Buchanan and his friends have not contended for the contrary
principle any more than the Douglas men or the Republicans. They
have insisted that whatever of small irregularities existed in
getting up the Lecompton Constitution were such as happen in the
settlement of all new Territories. The question was, Was it a
fair emanation of the people? It was a question of fact, and not
of principle. As to the principle, all were agreed. Judge
Douglas voted with the Republicans upon that matter of fact.

He and they, by their voices and votes, denied that it was a fair
emanation of the people. The Administration affirmed that it
was. With respect to the evidence bearing upon that question of
fact, I readily agree that Judge Douglas and the Republicans had
the right on their side, and that the Administration was wrong.
But I state again that, as a matter of principle, there is no
dispute upon the right of a people in a Territory, merging into a
State, to form a constitution for themselves without outside
interference from any quarter. This being so, what is Judge
Douglas going to spend his life for? Is he going to spend his
life in maintaining a principle that nobody on earth opposes?
Does he expect to stand up in majestic dignity, and go through
his apotheosis and become a god in the maintaining of a principle
which neither man nor mouse in all God's creation is opposing?
Now something in regard to the Lecompton Constitution more
specially; for I pass from this other question of popular
sovereignty as the most arrant humbug that has ever been
attempted on an intelligent community.

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

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

Let us see. Lecompton in the raw was defeated. It afterward
took a sort of cooked-up shape, and was passed in the English
bill. It is said by the Judge that the defeat was a good and
proper thing. If it was a good thing, why is he entitled to more
credit than others for the performance of that good act, unless
there was something in the antecedents of the Republicans that
might induce every one to expect them to join in that good work,
and at the same time something leading them to doubt that he
would? Does he place his superior claim to credit on the ground
that he performed a good act which was never expected of him? He
says I have a proneness for quoting Scripture. If I should do so
now, it occurs that perhaps he places himself somewhat upon the
ground of the parable of the lost sheep which went astray upon
the mountains, and when the owner of the hundred sheep found the
one that was lost, and threw it upon his shoulders and came home
rejoicing, it was said that there was more rejoicing over the one
sheep that was lost and had been found than over the ninety and
nine in the fold. The application is made by the Saviour in this
parable, thus: "Verily, I say unto you, there is more rejoicing
in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and
nine just persons that need no repentance."

And now, if the Judge claims the benefit of this parable, let him
repent. Let him not come up here and say: "I am the only just
person; and you are the ninety-nine sinners!" Repentance before
forgiveness is a provision of the Christian system, and on that
condition alone will the Republicans grant his forgiveness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We are now far advanced into the fifth year since a policy was
created for the avowed object and with the confident promise of
putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that
policy that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly
augmented. In my opinion it will not cease till a crisis shall
have been reached and passed. 'A house divided against itself
cannot stand.' I believe that this government cannot endure
permanently half slave and half free; it will become all one
thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will
arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public
mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of
ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till
it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as
new, North as well as South."

Now, you all see, from that quotation, I did not express my wish
on anything. In that passage I indicated no wish or purpose of
my own; I simply expressed my expectation. Cannot the Judge
perceive a distinction between a purpose and an expectation? I
have often expressed an expectation to die, but I have never
expressed a wish to die. I said at Chicago, and now repeat, that
I am quite aware this government has endured, half slave and half
free, for eighty-two years. I understand that little bit of
history. I expressed the opinion I did because I perceived--or
thought I perceived--a new set of causes introduced. I did say
at Chicago, in my speech there, that I do wish to see the spread
of slavery arrested, and to see it placed where the public mind
shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate
extinction. I said that because I supposed, when the public mind
shall rest in that belief, we shall have peace on the slavery
question. I have believed--and now believe--the public mind did
rest on that belief up to the introduction of the Nebraska Bill.

Although I have ever been opposed to slavery, so far I rested in
the hope and belief that it was in the course of ultimate
extinction. For that reason it had been a minor question with
me. I might have been mistaken; but I had believed, and now
believe, that the whole public mind, that is, the mind of the
great majority, had rested in that belief up to the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise. But upon that event I became convinced that
either I had been resting in a delusion, or the institution was
being placed on a new basis, a basis for making it perpetual,
national, and universal. Subsequent events have greatly
confirmed me in that belief. I believe that bill to be the
beginning of a conspiracy for that purpose. So believing, I have
since then considered that question a paramount one. So
believing, I thought the public mind will never rest till the
power of Congress to restrict the spread of it shall again be
acknowledged and exercised on the one hand or, on the other, all
resistance be entirely crushed out. I have expressed that
opinion, and I entertain it to-night. It is denied that there is
any tendency to the nationalization of slavery in these States.

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

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

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

And now as to the Judge's inference that because I wish to see
slavery placed in the course of ultimate extinction,--placed
where our fathers originally placed it,--I wish to annihilate the
State Legislatures, to force cotton to grow upon the tops of the
Green Mountains, to freeze ice in Florida, to cut lumber on the
broad Illinois prairie,--that I am in favor of all these
ridiculous and impossible things.

It seems to me it is a complete answer to all this to ask if,
when Congress did have the fashion of restricting slavery from
free territory; when courts did have the fashion of deciding that
taking a slave into a free country made him free,--I say it is a
sufficient answer to ask if any of this ridiculous nonsense about
consolidation and uniformity did actually follow. Who heard of
any such thing because of the Ordinance of '87? because of the
Missouri restriction? because of the numerous court decisions of
that character?

Now, as to the Dred Scott decision; for upon that he makes his
last point at me. He boldly takes ground in favor of that

This is one half the onslaught, and one third of the entire plan
of the campaign. I am opposed to that decision in a certain
sense, but not in the sense which he puts it. I say that in so
far as it decided in favor of Dred Scott's master, and against
Dred Scott and his family, I do not propose to disturb or resist
the decision.

I never have proposed to do any such thing. I think that in
respect for judicial authority my humble history would not suffer
in comparison with that of Judge Douglas. He would have the
citizen conform his vote to that decision; the member of
Congress, his; the President, his use of the veto power. He
would make it a rule of political action for the people and all
the departments of the government. I would not. By resisting it
as a political rule, I disturb no right of property, create no
disorder, excite no mobs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us go a little further. You remember we once had a National
Bank. Some one owed the bank a debt; he was sued, and sought to
avoid payment on the ground that the bank was unconstitutional.
The case went to the Supreme Court, and therein it was decided
that the bank was constitutional. The whole Democratic party
revolted against that decision. General Jackson himself asserted
that he, as President, would not be bound to hold a National Bank
to be constitutional, even though the court had decided it to be
so. He fell in precisely with the view of Mr. Jefferson, and
acted upon it under his official oath, in vetoing a charter for a
National Bank. The declaration that Congress does not possess
this constitutional power to charter a bank has gone into the
Democratic platform, at their National Conventions, and was
brought forward and reaffirmed in their last Convention at
Cincinnati. They have contended for that declaration, in the
very teeth of the Supreme Court, for more than a quarter of a
century. In fact, they have reduced the decision to an absolute
nullity. That decision, I repeat, is repudiated in the
Cincinnati platform; and still, as if to show that effrontery can
go no further, Judge Douglas vaunts in the very speeches in which
he denounces me for opposing the Dred Scott decision that he
stands on the Cincinnati platform.

Now, I wish to know what the Judge can charge upon me, with
respect to decisions of the Supreme Court, which does not lie in
all its length, breadth, and proportions at his own door. The
plain truth is simply this: Judge Douglas is for Supreme Court
decisions when he likes and against them when he does not like
them. He is for the Dred Scott decision because it tends to
nationalize slavery; because it is part of the original
combination for that object. It so happens, singularly enough,
that I never stood opposed to a decision of the Supreme Court
till this, on the contrary, I have no recollection that he was
ever particularly in favor of one till this. He never was in
favor of any nor opposed to any, till the present one, which
helps to nationalize slavery.

Free men of Sangamon, free men of Illinois, free men everywhere,
judge ye between him and me upon this issue.

He says this Dred Scott case is a very small matter at most,--
that it has no practical effect; that at best, or rather, I
suppose, at worst, it is but an abstraction. I submit that the
proposition that the thing which determines whether a man is free
or a slave is rather concrete than abstract. I think you would
conclude that it was, if your liberty depended upon it, and so
would Judge Douglas, if his liberty depended upon it. But
suppose it was on the question of spreading slavery over the new
Territories that he considers it as being merely an abstract
matter, and one of no practical importance. How has the planting
of slavery in new countries always been effected? It has now
been decided that slavery cannot be kept out of our new
Territories by any legal means. In what do our new Territories
now differ in this respect from the old Colonies when slavery was
first planted within them? It was planted, as Mr. Clay once
declared, and as history proves true, by individual men, in spite
of the wishes of the people; the Mother Government refusing to
prohibit it, and withholding from the people of the Colonies the
authority to prohibit it for themselves. Mr. Clay says this was
one of the great and just causes of complaint against Great
Britain by the Colonies, and the best apology we can now make for
having the institution amongst us. In that precise condition our
Nebraska politicians have at last succeeded in placing our own
new Territories; the government will not prohibit slavery within
them, nor allow the people to prohibit it.

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

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

Mr. Webster, too, was mentioned; but it did not quite come to a
death-bed scene as to him. It would be amusing, if it were not
disgusting, to see how quick these compromise-breakers administer
on the political effects of their dead adversaries, trumping up
claims never before heard of, and dividing the assets among
themselves. If I should be found dead to-morrow morning, nothing
but my insignificance could prevent a speech being made on my
authority, before the end of next week. It so happens that in
that "popular sovereignty" with which Mr. Clay was identified,
the Missouri Compromise was expressly reversed; and it was a
little singular if Mr. Clay cast his mantle upon Judge Douglas on
purpose to have that compromise repealed.

Again, the Judge did not keep faith with Mr. Clay when he first
brought in his Nebraska Bill. He left the Missouri Compromise
unrepealed, and in his report accompanying the bill he told the
world he did it on purpose. The manes of Mr. Clay must have been
in great agony till thirty days later, when "popular sovereignty"
stood forth in all its glory.

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

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

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

My declarations upon this subject of negro slavery may be
misrepresented, but cannot be misunderstood. I have said that I
do not understand the Declaration to mean that all men were
created equal in all respects. They are not our equal in color;
but I suppose that it does mean to declare that all men are equal
in some respects; they are equal in their right to "life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Certainly the negro is
not our equal in color, perhaps not in many other respects;
still, in the right to put into his mouth the bread that his own
hands have earned, he is the equal of every other man, white or
black. In pointing out that more has been given you, you cannot
be justified in taking away the little which has been given him.
All I ask for the negro is that if you do not like him, let him
alone. If God gave him but little, that little let him enjoy.

When our government was established we had the institution of
slavery among us. We were in a certain sense compelled to
tolerate its existence. It was a sort of necessity. We had gone
through our struggle and secured our own independence. The
framers of the Constitution found the institution of slavery
amongst their own institutions at the time. They found that by
an effort to eradicate it they might lose much of what they had
already gained. They were obliged to bow to the necessity. They
gave power to Congress to abolish the slave trade at the end of
twenty years. They also prohibited it in the Territories where
it did not exist. They did what they could, and yielded to the
necessity for the rest. I also yield to all which follows from
that necessity. What I would most desire would be the separation
of the white and black races.

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

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

Judge Douglas has carefully read and reread that speech. He has
not, so far as I know, contradicted those charges. In the two
speeches which I heard he certainly did not. On this own tacit
admission, I renew that charge. I charge him with having been a
party to that conspiracy and to that deception for the sole
purpose of nationalizing slavery.


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


CHICAGO, ILL., July 24, 1558.


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

Your obedient servant,



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

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

The times and places designated are as follows:

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

I agree to your suggestion that we shall alternately open and
close the discussion. I will speak at Ottawa one hour, you can


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