The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, v4
Abraham Lincoln

Part 2 out of 2

not from anything in myself, in the face of the world; and I am
anxious that they should be conducted with dignity and in the good
temper which would be befitting the vast audiences before which it
was conducted. But when Judge Douglas got home from Washington and
made his first speech in Chicago, the evening afterward I made some
sort of a reply to it. His second speech was made at Bloomington, in
which he commented upon my speech at Chicago and said that I had used
language ingeniously contrived to conceal my intentions, or words to
that effect. Now, I understand that this is an imputation upon my
veracity and my candor. I do not know what the Judge understood by
it, but in our first discussion, at Ottawa, he led off by charging a
bargain, somewhat corrupt in its character, upon Trumbull and
myself,--that we had entered into a bargain, one of the terms of
which was that Trumbull was to Abolitionize the old Democratic party,
and I (Lincoln) was to Abolitionize the old Whig party; I pretending
to be as good an old-line Whig as ever. Judge Douglas may not
understand that he implicated my truthfulness and my honor when he
said I was doing one thing and pretending another; and I
misunderstood him if he thought he was treating me in a dignified
way, as a man of honor and truth, as he now claims he was disposed to
treat me. Even after that time, at Galesburgh, when he brings
forward an extract from a speech made at Chicago and an extract from
a speech made at Charleston, to prove that I was trying to play a
double part, that I was trying to cheat the public, and get votes
upon one set of principles at one place, and upon another set of
principles at another place,--I do not understand but what he
impeaches my honor, my veracity, and my candor; and because he does
this, I do not understand that I am bound, if I see a truthful ground
for it, to keep my hands off of him. As soon as I learned that Judge
Douglas was disposed to treat me in this way, I signified in one of
my speeches that I should be driven to draw upon whatever of humble
resources I might have,--to adopt a new course with him. I was not
entirely sure that I should be able to hold my own with him, but I at
least had the purpose made to do as well as I could upon him; and now
I say that I will not be the first to cry "Hold." I think it
originated with the Judge, and when he quits, I probably will. But I
shall not ask any favors at all. He asks me, or he asks the
audience, if I wish to push this matter to the point of personal
difficulty. I tell him, no. He did not make a mistake, in one of
his early speeches, when he called me an "amiable" man, though
perhaps he did when he called me an "intelligent" man. It really
hurts me very much to suppose that I have wronged anybody on earth.
I again tell him, no! I very much prefer, when this canvass shall be
over, however it may result, that we at least part without any bitter
recollections of personal difficulties.

The Judge, in his concluding speech at Galesburgh, says that I was
pushing this matter to a personal difficulty, to avoid the
responsibility for the enormity of my principles. I say to the Judge
and this audience, now, that I will again state our principles, as
well as I hastily can, in all their enormity, and if the Judge
hereafter chooses to confine himself to a war upon these principles,
he will probably not find me departing from the same course.

We have in this nation this element of domestic slavery. It is a
matter of absolute certainty that it is a disturbing element. It is
the opinion of all the great men who have expressed an opinion upon
it, that it is a dangerous element. We keep up a controversy in
regard to it. That controversy necessarily springs from difference
of opinion; and if we can learn exactly--can reduce to the lowest
elements--what that difference of opinion is, we perhaps shall be
better prepared for discussing the different systems of policy that
we would propose in regard to that disturbing element. I suggest
that the difference of opinion, reduced to its lowest of terms, is no
other than the difference between the men who think slavery a wrong
and those who do not think it wrong. The Republican party think it
wrong; we think it is a moral, a social, and a political wrong. We
think it as a wrong not confining itself merely to the persons or the
States where it exists, but that it is a wrong in its tendency, to
say the least, that extends itself to the existence of the whole
nation. Because we think it wrong, we propose a course of policy
that shall deal with it as a wrong. We deal with it as with any
other wrong, in so far as we can prevent its growing any larger, and
so deal with it that in the run of time there may be some promise of
an end to it. We have a due regard to the actual presence of it
amongst us, and the difficulties of getting rid of it in any
satisfactory way, and all the constitutional obligations thrown about
it. I suppose that in reference both to its actual existence in the
nation, and to our constitutional obligations, we have no right at
all to disturb it in the States where it exists, and we profess that
we have no more inclination to disturb it than we have the right to
do it. We go further than that: we don't propose to disturb it
where, in one instance, we think the Constitution would permit us.
We think the Constitution would permit us to disturb it in the
District of Columbia. Still, we do not propose to do that, unless it
should be in terms which I don't suppose the nation is very likely
soon to agree to,--the terms of making the emancipation gradual, and
compensating the unwilling owners. Where we suppose we have the
constitutional right, we restrain ourselves in reference to the
actual existence of the institution and the difficulties thrown about
it. We also oppose it as an evil so far as it seeks to spread
itself. We insist on the policy that shall restrict it to its
present limits. We don't suppose that in doing this we violate
anything due to the actual presence of the institution, or anything
due to the constitutional guaranties thrown around it.

We oppose the Dred Scott decision in a certain way, upon which I
ought perhaps to address you a few words. We do not propose that
when Dred Scott has been decided to be a slave by the court, we, as a
mob, will decide him to be free. We do not propose that, when any
other one, or one thousand, shall be decided by that court to be
slaves, we will in any violent way disturb the rights of property
thus settled; but we nevertheless do oppose that decision as a
political rule which shall be binding on the voter to vote for nobody
who thinks it wrong, which shall be binding on the members of
Congress or the President to favor no measure that does not actually
concur with the principles of that decision. We do not propose to be
bound by it as a political rule in that way, because we think it lays
the foundation, not merely of enlarging and spreading out what we
consider an evil, but it lays the foundation for spreading that evil
into the States themselves. We propose so resisting it as to have it
reversed if we can, and a new judicial rule established upon this

I will add this: that if there be any man who does not believe that
slavery is wrong in the three aspects which I have mentioned, or in
any one of them, that man is misplaced, and ought to leave us; while
on the other hand, if there be any man in the Republican party who is
impatient over the necessity springing from its actual presence, and
is impatient of the constitutional guaranties thrown around it, and
would act in disregard of these, he too is misplaced, standing with
us. He will find his place somewhere else; for we have a due regard,
so far as we are capable of understanding them, for all these things.
This, gentlemen, as well as I can give it, is a plain statement of
our principles in all their enormity.
I will say now that there is a sentiment in the country contrary to
me,--a sentiment which holds that slavery is not wrong, and therefore
it goes for the policy that does not propose dealing with it as a
wrong. That policy is the Democratic policy, and that sentiment is
the Democratic sentiment. If there be a doubt in the mind of any one
of this vast audience that this is really the central idea of the
Democratic party in relation to this subject, I ask him to bear with
me while I state a few things tending, as I think, to prove that
proposition. In the first place, the leading man--I think I may do
my friend Judge Douglas the honor of calling him such advocating the
present Democratic policy never himself says it is wrong. He has the
high distinction, so far as I know, of never having said slavery is
either right or wrong. Almost everybody else says one or the other,
but the Judge never does. If there be a man in the Democratic party
who thinks it is wrong, and yet clings to that party, I suggest to
him, in the first place, that his leader don't talk as he does, for
he never says that it is wrong. In the second place, I suggest to
him that if he will examine the policy proposed to be carried
forward, he will find that he carefully excludes the idea that there
is anything wrong in it. If you will examine the arguments that are
made on it, you will find that every one carefully excludes the idea
that there is anything wrong in slavery. Perhaps that Democrat who
says he is as much opposed to slavery as I am will tell me that I am
wrong about this. I wish him to examine his own course in regard to
this matter a moment, and then see if his opinion will not be changed
a little. You say it is wrong; but don't you constantly object to
anybody else saying so? Do you not constantly argue that this is not
the right place to oppose it? You say it must not be opposed in the
free States, because slavery is not here; it must not be opposed in
the slave States, because it is there; it must not be opposed in
politics, because that will make a fuss; it must not be opposed in
the pulpit, because it is not religion. Then where is the place to
oppose it? There is no suitable place to oppose it. There is no
place in the country to oppose this evil overspreading the continent,
which you say yourself is coming. Frank Blair and Gratz Brown tried
to get up a system of gradual emancipation in Missouri, had an
election in August, and got beat, and you, Mr. Democrat, threw up
your hat, and hallooed "Hurrah for Democracy!" So I say, again, that
in regard to the arguments that are made, when Judge Douglas Says he
"don't care whether slavery is voted up or voted down," whether he
means that as an individual expression of sentiment, or only as a
sort of statement of his views on national policy, it is alike true
to say that he can thus argue logically if he don't see anything
wrong in it; but he cannot say so logically if he admits that slavery
is wrong. He cannot say that he would as soon see a wrong voted up
as voted down. When Judge Douglas says that whoever or whatever
community wants slaves, they have a right to have them, he is
perfectly logical, if there is nothing wrong in the institution; but
if you admit that it is wrong, he cannot logically say that anybody
has a right to do wrong. When he says that slave property and horse
and hog property are alike to be allowed to go into the Territories,
upon the principles of equality, he is reasoning truly, if there is
no difference between them as property; but if the one is property
held rightfully, and the other is wrong, then there is no equality
between the right and wrong; so that, turn it in anyway you can, in
all the arguments sustaining the Democratic policy, and in that
policy itself, there is a careful, studied exclusion of the idea that
there is anything wrong in slavery. Let us understand this. I am
not, just here, trying to prove that we are right, and they are
wrong. I have been stating where we and they stand, and trying to
show what is the real difference between us; and I now say that
whenever we can get the question distinctly stated, can get all these
men who believe that slavery is in some of these respects wrong to
stand and act with us in treating it as a wrong,--then, and not till
then, I think we will in some way come to an end of this slavery


MY FRIENDS:--Since Judge Douglas has said to you in his conclusion
that he had not time in an hour and a half to answer all I had said
in an hour, it follows of course that I will not be able to answer in
half an hour all that he said in an hour and a half.

I wish to return to Judge Douglas my profound thanks for his public
annunciation here to-day, to be put on record, that his system of
policy in regard to the institution of slavery contemplates that it
shall last forever. We are getting a little nearer the true issue of
this controversy, and I am profoundly grateful for this one sentence.
Judge Douglas asks you, Why cannot the institution of slavery, or
rather, why cannot the nation, part slave and part free, continue as
our fathers made it, forever? In the first place, I insist that our
fathers did not make this nation half slave and half free, or part
slave and part free. I insist that they found the institution of
slavery existing here. They did not make it so but they left it so
because they knew of no way to get rid of it at that time. When
Judge Douglas undertakes to say that, as a matter of choice, the
fathers of the government made this nation part slave and part free,
he assumes what is historically a falsehood. More than that: when
the fathers of the government cut off the source of slavery by the
abolition of the slave-trade, and adopted a system of restricting it
from the new Territories where it had not existed, I maintain that
they placed it where they understood, and all sensible men
understood, it was in the course of ultimate extinction; and when
Judge Douglas asks me why it cannot continue as our fathers made it,
I ask him why he and his friends could not let it remain as our
fathers made it?

It is precisely all I ask of him in relation to the institution of
slavery, that it shall be placed upon the basis that our fathers
placed it upon. Mr. Brooks, of South Carolina, once said, and truly
said, that when this government was established, no one expected the
institution of slavery to last until this day, and that the men who
formed this government were wiser and better than the men of these
days; but the men of these days had experience which the fathers had
not, and that experience had taught them the invention of the
cotton-gin, and this had made the perpetuation of the institution of
slavery a necessity in this country. Judge Douglas could not let it
stand upon the basis which our fathers placed it, but removed it, and
put it upon the cotton-gin basis. It is a question, therefore, for
him and his friends to answer, why they could not let it remain where
the fathers of the government originally placed it. I hope nobody
has understood me as trying to sustain the doctrine that we have a
right to quarrel with Kentucky, or Virginia, or any of the slave
States, about the institution of slavery,--thus giving the Judge an
opportunity to be eloquent and valiant against us in fighting for
their rights. I expressly declared in my opening speech that I had
neither the inclination to exercise, nor the belief in the existence
of, the right to interfere with the States of Kentucky or Virginia in
doing as they pleased with slavery Or any other existing institution.
Then what becomes of all his eloquence in behalf of the rights of
States, which are assailed by no living man?

But I have to hurry on, for I have but a half hour. The Judge has
informed me, or informed this audience, that the Washington Union is
laboring for my election to the United States Senate. This is news
to me,--not very ungrateful news either. [Turning to Mr. W. H.
Carlin, who was on the stand]--I hope that Carlin will be elected to
the State Senate, and will vote for me. [Mr. Carlin shook his head.]
Carlin don't fall in, I perceive, and I suppose he will not do much
for me; but I am glad of all the support I can get, anywhere, if I
can get it without practicing any deception to obtain it. In respect
to this large portion of Judge Douglas's speech in which he tries to
show that in the controversy between himself and the Administration
party he is in the right, I do not feel myself at all competent or
inclined to answer him. I say to him, "Give it to them,--give it to
them just all you can!" and, on the other hand, I say to Carlin, and
Jake Davis, and to this man Wogley up here in Hancock, "Give it to
Douglas, just pour it into him!"

Now, in regard to this matter of the Dred Scott decision, I wish to
say a word or two. After all, the Judge will not say whether, if a
decision is made holding that the people of the States cannot exclude
slavery, he will support it or not. He obstinately refuses to say
what he will do in that case. The judges of the Supreme Court as
obstinately refused to say what they would do on this subject.
Before this I reminded him that at Galesburgh he said the judges had
expressly declared the contrary, and you remember that in my Opening
speech I told him I had the book containing that decision here, and I
would thank him to lay his finger on the place where any such thing
was said. He has occupied his hour and a half, and he has not
ventured to try to sustain his assertion. He never will. But he is
desirous of knowing how we are going to reverse that Dred Scott
decision. Judge Douglas ought to know how. Did not he and his
political friends find a way to reverse the decision of that same
court in favor of the constitutionality of the National Bank? Didn't
they find a way to do it so effectually that they have reversed it as
completely as any decision ever was reversed, so far as its practical
operation is concerned?

And let me ask you, did n't Judge Douglas find a way to reverse the
decision of our Supreme Court when it decided that Carlin's father--
old Governor Carlin had not the constitutional power to remove a
Secretary of State? Did he not appeal to the "MOBS," as he calls
them? Did he not make speeches in the lobby to show how villainous
that decision was, and how it ought to be overthrown? Did he not
succeed, too, in getting an act passed by the Legislature to have it
overthrown? And did n't he himself sit down on that bench as one of
the five added judges, who were to overslaugh the four old ones,
getting his name of "judge" in that way, and no other? If there is a
villainy in using disrespect or making opposition to Supreme Court
decisions, I commend it to Judge Douglas's earnest consideration. I
know of no man in the State of Illinois who ought to know so well
about how much villainy it takes to oppose a decision of the Supreme
Court as our honorable friend Stephen A. Douglas.

Judge Douglas also makes the declaration that I say the Democrats are
bound by the Dred Scott decision, while the Republicans are not. In
the sense in which he argues, I never said it; but I will tell you
what I have said and what I do not hesitate to repeat to-day. I have
said that as the Democrats believe that decision to be correct, and
that the extension of slavery is affirmed in the National
Constitution, they are bound to support it as such; and I will tell
you here that General Jackson once said each man was bound to support
the Constitution "as he understood it." Now, Judge Douglas
understands the Constitution according to the Dred Scott decision,
and he is bound to support it as he understands it. I understand it
another way, and therefore I am bound to support it in the way in
which I understand it. And as Judge Douglas believes that decision
to be correct, I will remake that argument if I have time to do so.
Let me talk to some gentleman down there among you who looks me in
the face. We will say you are a member of the Territorial
Legislature, and, like Judge Douglas, you believe that the right to
take and hold slaves there is a constitutional right The first thing
you do is to swear you will support the Constitution, and all rights
guaranteed therein; that you will, whenever your neighbor needs your
legislation to support his constitutional rights, not withhold that
legislation. If you withhold that necessary legislation for the
support of the Constitution and constitutional rights, do you not
commit perjury? I ask every sensible man if that is not so? That is
undoubtedly just so, say what you please. Now, that is precisely
what Judge Douglas says, that this is a constitutional right. Does
the Judge mean to say that the Territorial Legislature in legislating
may, by withholding necessary laws, or by passing unfriendly laws,
nullify that constitutional right? Does he mean to say that? Does
he mean to ignore the proposition so long and well established in
law, that what you cannot do directly, you cannot do indirectly?
Does he mean that? The truth about the matter is this: Judge Douglas
has sung paeans to his "Popular Sovereignty" doctrine until his
Supreme Court, co-operating with him, has squatted his Squatter
Sovereignty out. But he will keep up this species of humbuggery
about Squatter Sovereignty. He has at last invented this sort of
do-nothing sovereignty,--that the people may exclude slavery by a
sort of "sovereignty" that is exercised by doing nothing at all. Is
not that running his Popular Sovereignty down awfully? Has it not
got down as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the
shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death? But at last, when it
is brought to the test of close reasoning, there is not even that
thin decoction of it left. It is a presumption impossible in the
domain of thought. It is precisely no other than the putting of that
most unphilosophical proposition, that two bodies can occupy the same
space at the same time. The Dred Scott decision covers the whole
ground, and while it occupies it, there is no room even for the
shadow of a starved pigeon to occupy the same ground.

Judge Douglas, in reply to what I have said about having upon a
previous occasion made the speech at Ottawa as the one he took an
extract from at Charleston, says it only shows that I practiced the
deception twice. Now, my friends, are any of you obtuse enough to
swallow that? Judge Douglas had said I had made a speech at
Charleston that I would not make up north, and I turned around and
answered him by showing I had made that same speech up north,--had
made it at Ottawa; made it in his hearing; made it in the Abolition
District,--in Lovejoy's District,--in the personal presence of
Lovejoy himself,--in the same atmosphere exactly in which I had made
my Chicago speech, of which he complains so much.

Now, in relation to my not having said anything about the quotation
from the Chicago speech: he thinks that is a terrible subject for me
to handle. Why, gentlemen, I can show you that the substance of the
Chicago speech I delivered two years ago in "Egypt," as he calls it.
It was down at Springfield. That speech is here in this book, and I
could turn to it and read it to you but for the lack of time. I have
not now the time to read it. ["Read it, read it."] No, gentlemen, I
am obliged to use discretion in disposing most advantageously of my
brief time. The Judge has taken great exception to my adopting the
heretical statement in the Declaration of Independence, that "all men
are created equal," and he has a great deal to say about negro
equality. I want to say that in sometimes alluding to the
Declaration of Independence, I have only uttered the sentiments that
Henry Clay used to hold. Allow me to occupy your time a moment with
what he said. Mr. Clay was at one time called upon in Indiana, and
in a way that I suppose was very insulting, to liberate his slaves;
and he made a written reply to that application, and one portion of
it is in these words:

"What is the foundation of this appeal to me in Indiana to liberate
the slaves under my care in Kentucky? It is a general declaration in
the act announcing to the world the independence of the thirteen
American colonies, that men are created equal. Now, as an abstract
principle, there is no doubt of the truth of that declaration, and it
is desirable in the original construction of society, and in
organized societies, to keep it in view as a great fundamental

When I sometimes, in relation to the organization of new societies in
new countries, where the soil is clean and clear, insisted that we
should keep that principle in view, Judge Douglas will have it that I
want a negro wife. He never can be brought to understand that there
is any middle ground on this subject. I have lived until my fiftieth
year, and have never had a negro woman either for a slave or a wife,
and I think I can live fifty centuries, for that matter, without
having had one for either. I maintain that you may take Judge
Douglas's quotations from my Chicago speech, and from my Charleston
speech, and the Galesburgh speech,--in his speech of to-day,--and
compare them over, and I am willing to trust them with you upon his
proposition that they show rascality or double-dealing. I deny that
they do.

The Judge does not seem at all disposed to have peace, but I find he
is disposed to have a personal warfare with me. He says that my oath
would not be taken against the bare word of Charles H. Lanphier or
Thomas L. Harris. Well, that is altogether a matter of opinion. It
is certainly not for me to vaunt my word against oaths of these
gentlemen, but I will tell Judge Douglas again the facts upon which I
"dared" to say they proved a forgery. I pointed out at Galesburgh
that the publication of these resolutions in the Illinois State
Register could not have been the result of accident, as the
proceedings of that meeting bore unmistakable evidence of being done
by a man who knew it was a forgery; that it was a publication partly
taken from the real proceedings of the Convention, and partly from
the proceedings of a convention at another place, which showed that
he had the real proceedings before him, and taking one part of the
resolutions, he threw out another part, and substituted false and
fraudulent ones in their stead. I pointed that out to him, and also
that his friend Lanphier, who was editor of the Register at that time
and now is, must have known how it was done. Now, whether he did it,
or got some friend to do it for him, I could not tell, but he
certainly knew all about it. I pointed out to Judge Douglas that in
his Freeport speech he had promised to investigate that matter.
Does he now say that he did not make that promise? I have a right
to ask why he did not keep it. I call upon him to tell here to-day
why he did not keep that promise? That fraud has been traced up so
that it lies between him, Harris, and Lanphier. There is little room
for escape for Lanphier. Lanphier is doing the Judge good service,
and Douglas desires his word to be taken for the truth. He desires
Lanphier to be taken as authority in what he states in his newspaper.
He desires Harris to be taken as a man of vast credibility; and when
this thing lies among them, they will not press it to show where the
guilt really belongs. Now, as he has said that he would investigate
it, and implied that he would tell us the result of his
investigation, I demand of him to tell why he did not investigate it,
if he did not; and if he did, why he won't tell the result. I call
upon him for that.

This is the third time that Judge Douglas has assumed that he learned
about these resolutions by Harris's attempting to use them against
Norton on the floor of Congress. I tell Judge Douglas the public
records of the country show that he himself attempted it upon
Trumbull a month before Harris tried them on Norton; that Harris had
the opportunity of learning it from him, rather than he from Harris.
I now ask his attention to that part of the record on the case. My
friends, I am not disposed to detain you longer in regard to that

I am told that I still have five minutes left. There is another
matter I wish to call attention to. He says, when he discovered
there was a mistake in that case, he came forward magnanimously,
without my calling his attention to it, and explained it. I will
tell you how he became so magnanimous. When the newspapers of our
side had discovered and published it, and put it beyond his power to
deny it, then he came forward and made a virtue of necessity by
acknowledging it. Now he argues that all the point there was in
those resolutions, although never passed at Springfield, is retained
by their being passed at other localities. Is that true? He said I
had a hand in passing them, in his opening speech, that I was in the
convention and helped to pass them. Do the resolutions touch me at
all? It strikes me there is some difference between holding a man
responsible for an act which he has not done and holding him
responsible for an act that he has
done. You will judge whether there is any difference in the "spots."
And he has taken credit for great magnanimity in coming forward and
acknowledging what is proved on him beyond even the capacity of Judge
Douglas to deny; and he has more capacity in that way than any other
living man.

Then he wants to know why I won't withdraw the charge in regard to a
conspiracy to make slavery national, as he has withdrawn the one he
made. May it please his worship, I will withdraw it when it is
proven false on me as that was proven false on him. I will add a
little more than that, I will withdraw it whenever a reasonable man
shall be brought to believe that the charge is not true. I have
asked Judge Douglas's attention to certain matters of fact tending to
prove the charge of a conspiracy to nationalize slavery, and he says
he convinces me that this is all untrue because Buchanan was not in
the country at that time, and because the Dred Scott case had not
then got into the Supreme Court; and he says that I say the
Democratic owners of Dred Scott got up the case. I never did say
that I defy Judge Douglas to show that I ever said so, for I never
uttered it. [One of Mr. Douglas's reporters gesticulated
affirmatively at Mr. Lincoln.] I don't care if your hireling does say
I did, I tell you myself that I never said the "Democratic" owners of
Dred Scott got up the case. I have never pretended to know whether
Dred Scott's owners were Democrats, or Abolitionists, or Freesoilers
or Border Ruffians. I have said that there is evidence about the
case tending to show that it was a made-up case, for the purpose of
getting that decision. I have said that that evidence was very
strong in the fact that when Dred Scott was declared to be a slave,
the owner of him made him free, showing that he had had the case
tried and the question settled for such use as could be made of that
decision; he cared nothing about the property thus declared to be his
by that decision. But my time is out, and I can say no more.




LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:--I have been somewhat, in my own mind,
complimented by a large portion of Judge Douglas's speech,--I mean
that portion which he devotes to the controversy between himself and
the present Administration. This is the seventh time Judge Douglas
and myself have met in these joint discussions, and he has been
gradually improving in regard to his war with the Administration. At
Quincy, day before yesterday, he was a little more severe upon the
Administration than I had heard him upon any occasion, and I took
pains to compliment him for it. I then told him to give it to them
with all the power he had; and as some of them were present, I told
them I would be very much obliged if they would give it to him in
about the same way. I take it he has now vastly improved upon the
attack he made then upon the Administration. I flatter myself he has
really taken my advice on this subject. All I can say now is to
re-commend to him and to them what I then commended,--to prosecute
the war against one another in the most vigorous manner. I say to
them again: "Go it, husband!--Go it, bear!"

There is one other thing I will mention before I leave this branch of
the discussion,--although I do not consider it much of my business,
anyway. I refer to that part of the Judge's remarks where he
undertakes to involve Mr. Buchanan in an inconsistency. He reads
something from Mr. Buchanan, from which he undertakes to involve him
in an inconsistency; and he gets something of a cheer for having done
so. I would only remind the Judge that while he is very valiantly
fighting for the Nebraska Bill and the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise, it has been but a little while since he was the valiant
advocate of the Missouri Compromise. I want to know if Buchanan has
not as much right to be inconsistent as Douglas has? Has Douglas the
exclusive right, in this country, of being on all sides of all
questions? Is nobody allowed that high privilege but himself? Is he
to have an entire monopoly on that subject?

So far as Judge Douglas addressed his speech to me, or so far as it
was about me, it is my business to pay some attention to it. I have
heard the Judge state two or three times what he has stated to-day,
that in a speech which I made at Springfield, Illinois, I had in a
very especial manner complained that the Supreme Court in the Dred
Scott case had decided that a negro could never be a citizen of the
United States. I have omitted by some accident heretofore to analyze
this statement, and it is required of me to notice it now. In point
of fact it is untrue. I never have complained especially of the Dred
Scott decision because it held that a negro could not be a citizen,
and the Judge is always wrong when he says I ever did so complain of
it. I have the speech here, and I will thank him or any of his
friends to show where I said that a negro should be a citizen, and
complained especially of the Dred Scott decision because it declared
he could not be one. I have done no such thing; and Judge Douglas,
so persistently insisting that I have done so, has strongly impressed
me with the belief of a predetermination on his part to misrepresent
me. He could not get his foundation for insisting that I was in
favor of this negro equality anywhere else as well as he could by
assuming that untrue proposition. Let me tell this audience what is
true in regard to that matter; and the means by which they may
correct me if I do not tell them truly is by a recurrence to the
speech itself. I spoke of the Dred Scott decision in my Springfield
speech, and I was then endeavoring to prove that the Dred Scott
decision was a portion of a system or scheme to make slavery national
in this country. I pointed out what things had been decided by the
court. I mentioned as a fact that they had decided that a negro
could not be a citizen; that they had done so, as I supposed, to
deprive the negro, under all circumstances, of the remotest
possibility of ever becoming a citizen and claiming the rights of a
citizen of the United States under a certain clause of the
Constitution. I stated that, without making any complaint of it at
all. I then went on and stated the other points decided in the case;
namely, that the bringing of a negro into the State of Illinois and
holding him in slavery for two years here was a matter in regard to
which they would not decide whether it would make him free or not;
that they decided the further point that taking him into a United
States Territory where slavery was prohibited by Act of Congress did
not make him free, because that Act of Congress, as they held, was
unconstitutional. I mentioned these three things as making up the
points decided in that case. I mentioned them in a lump, taken in
connection with the introduction of the Nebraska Bill, and the
amendment of Chase, offered at the time, declaratory of the right of
the people of the Territories to exclude slavery, which was voted
down by the friends of the bill. I mentioned all these things
together, as evidence tending to prove a combination and conspiracy
to make the institution of slavery national. In that connection and
in that way I mentioned the decision on the point that a negro could
not be a citizen, and in no other connection.

Out of this Judge Douglas builds up his beautiful fabrication of my
purpose to introduce a perfect social and political equality between
the white and black races. His assertion that I made an "especial
objection" (that is his exact language) to the decision on this
account is untrue in point of fact.

Now, while I am upon this subject, and as Henry Clay has been alluded
to, I desire to place myself, in connection with Mr. Clay, as nearly
right before this people as may be. I am quite aware what the
Judge's object is here by all these allusions. He knows that we are
before an audience having strong sympathies southward, by
relationship, place of birth, and so on. He desires to place me in
an extremely Abolition attitude. He read upon a former occasion, and
alludes, without reading, to-day to a portion of a speech which I
delivered in Chicago. In his quotations from that speech, as he has
made them upon former occasions, the extracts were taken in such a
way as, I suppose, brings them within the definition of what is
called garbling,--taking portions of a speech which, when taken by
themselves, do not present the entire sense of the speaker as
expressed at the time. I propose, therefore, out of that same
speech, to show how one portion of it which he skipped over (taking
an extract before and an extract after) will give a different idea,
and the true idea I intended to convey. It will take me some little
time to read it, but I believe I will occupy the time that way.

You have heard him frequently allude to my controversy with him in
regard to the Declaration of Independence. I confess that I have had
a struggle with Judge Douglas on that matter, and I will try briefly
to place myself right in regard to it on this occasion. I said--and
it is between the extracts Judge Douglas has taken from this speech,
and put in his published speeches:

"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 slaves 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 the charter
remain as our standard."

Now, I have upon all occasions declared as strongly as Judge Douglas
against the disposition to interfere with the existing institution of
slavery. You hear me read it from the same speech from which he
takes garbled extracts for the purpose of proving upon me a
disposition to interfere with the institution of slavery, and
establish a perfect social and political equality between negroes and
white people.

Allow me while upon this subject briefly to present one other extract
from a speech of mine, more than a year ago, at Springfield, in
discussing this very same question, soon after Judge Douglas took his
ground that negroes were, not included in the Declaration of

"I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include
all men, but they did not mean to declare all men equal in all
respects. They did not mean to say all men were equal in color,
size, intellect, moral development, or social capacity. They defined
with tolerable distinctness in what they did consider all men created
equal,--equal in certain inalienable rights, among which are life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This they said, and this they
meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth that all were
then actually enjoying that equality, or yet that they were about to
confer it immediately upon them. In fact they had no power to confer
such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the
enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should

"They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society which should
be familiar to all,--constantly looked to, constantly labored for,
and even, though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated,
and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and
augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people, of all
colors, everywhere."

There again are the sentiments I have expressed in regard to the
Declaration of Independence upon a former occasion,--sentiments which
have been put in print and read wherever anybody cared to know what
so humble an individual as myself chose to say in regard to it.

At Galesburgh, the other day, I said, in answer to Judge Douglas,
that three years ago there never had been a man, so far as I knew or
believed, in the whole world, who had said that the Declaration of
Independence did not include negroes in the term "all men." I
reassert it to-day. I assert that Judge Douglas and all his friends
may search the whole records of the country, and it will be a matter
of great astonishment to me if they shall be able to find that one
human being three years ago had ever uttered the astounding sentiment
that the term "all men" in the Declaration did not include the negro.
Do not let me be misunderstood. I know that more than three years
ago there were men who, finding this assertion constantly in the way
of their schemes to bring about the ascendency and perpetuation of
slavery, denied the truth of it. I know that Mr. Calhoun and all the
politicians of his school denied the truth of the Declaration. I
know that it ran along in the mouth of some Southern men for a period
of years, ending at last in that shameful, though rather forcible,
declaration of Pettit of Indiana, upon the floor of the United States
Senate, that the Declaration of Independence was in that respect "a
self-evident lie," rather than a self-evident truth. But I say, with
a perfect knowledge of all this hawking at the Declaration without
directly attacking it, that three years ago there never had lived a
man who had ventured to assail it in the sneaking way of pretending
to believe it, and then asserting it did not include the negro. I
believe the first man who ever said it was Chief Justice Taney in the
Dred Scott case, and the next to him was our friend Stephen A.
Douglas. And now it has become the catchword of the entire party. I
would like to call upon his friends everywhere to consider how they
have come in so short a time to view this matter in a way so entirely
different from their former belief; to ask whether they are not being
borne along by an irresistible current,--whither, they know not.

In answer to my proposition at Galesburgh last week, I see that some
man in Chicago has got up a letter, addressed to the Chicago Times,
to show, as he professes, that somebody had said so before; and he
signs himself "An Old-Line Whig," if I remember correctly. In the
first place, I would say he was not an old-line Whig. I am somewhat
acquainted with old-line Whigs from the origin to the end of that
party; I became pretty well acquainted with them, and I know they
always had some sense, whatever else you could ascribe to them. I
know there never was one who had not more sense than to try to show
by the evidence he produces that some men had, prior to the time I
named, said that negroes were not included in the term "all men" in
the Declaration of Independence. What is the evidence he produces?
I will bring forward his evidence, and let you see what he offers by
way of showing that somebody more than three years ago had said
negroes were not included in the Declaration. He brings forward part
of a speech from Henry Clay,--the part of the speech of Henry Clay
which I used to bring forward to prove precisely the contrary. I
guess we are surrounded to some extent to-day by the old friends of
Mr. Clay, and they will be glad to hear anything from that authority.
While he was in Indiana a man presented a petition to liberate his
negroes, and he (Mr. Clay) made a speech in answer to it, which I
suppose he carefully wrote out himself and caused to be published. I
have before me an extract from that speech which constitutes the
evidence this pretended "Old-Line Whig" at Chicago brought forward to
show that Mr. Clay did n't suppose the negro was included in the
Declaration of Independence. Hear what Mr. Clay said:

"And what is the foundation of this appeal to me in Indiana to
liberate the slaves under my care in Kentucky? It is a general
declaration in the act announcing to the world the independence of
the thirteen American colonies, that all men are created equal. Now,
as an abstract principle, there is no doubt of the truth of that
declaration; and it is desirable, in the original construction of
society and in organized societies, to keep it in view as a great
fundamental principle. But, then, I apprehend that in no society
that ever did exist, or ever shall be formed, was or can the equality
asserted among the members of the human race be practically enforced
and carried out. There are portions, large portions, women, minors,
insane, culprits, transient sojourners, that will always probably
remain subject to the government of another portion of the community.

"That declaration, whatever may be the extent of its import, was made
by the delegations of the thirteen States. In most of them slavery
existed, and had long existed, and was established by law. It was
introduced and forced upon the colonies by the paramount law of
England. Do you believe that in making that declaration the States
that concurred in it intended that it should be tortured into a
virtual emancipation of all the slaves within their respective
limits? Would Virginia and other Southern States have ever united in
a declaration which was to be interpreted into an abolition of
slavery among them? Did any one of the thirteen colonies entertain
such a design or expectation? To impute such a secret and unavowed
purpose, would be to charge a political fraud upon the noblest band
of patriots that ever assembled in council,--a fraud upon the
Confederacy of the Revolution; a fraud upon the union of those States
whose Constitution not only recognized the lawfulness of slavery, but
permitted the importation of slaves from Africa until the year 1808."

This is the entire quotation brought forward to prove that somebody
previous to three years ago had said the negro was not included in
the term "all men" in the Declaration. How does it do so? In what
way has it a tendency to prove that? Mr. Clay says it is true as an
abstract principle that all men are created equal, but that we cannot
practically apply it in all eases. He illustrates this by bringing
forward the cases of females, minors, and insane persons, with whom
it cannot be enforced; but he says it is true as an abstract
principle in the organization of society as well as in organized
society and it should be kept in view as a fundamental principle.
Let me read a few words more before I add some comments of my own.
Mr. Clay says, a little further on:

"I desire no concealment of my opinions in regard to the institution
of slavery. I look upon it as a great evil, and deeply lament that
we have derived it from the parental government and from our
ancestors. I wish every slave in the United States was in the
country of his ancestors. But here they are, and the question is,
How can they be best dealt with? If a state of nature existed, and
we were about to lay the foundations of society, no man would be more
strongly opposed than I should be to incorporate the institution of
slavery amongst its elements."

Now, here in this same book, in this same speech, in this same
extract, brought forward to prove that Mr. Clay held that the negro
was not included in the Declaration of Independence, is no such
statement on his part, but the declaration that it is a great
fundamental truth which should be constantly kept in view in the
organization of society and in societies already organized. But if I
say a word about it; if I attempt, as Mr. Clay said all good men
ought to do, to keep it in view; if, in this "organized society," I
ask to have the public eye turned upon it; if I ask, in relation to
the organization of new Territories, that the public eye should be
turned upon it, forthwith I am vilified as you hear me to-day. what
have I done that I have not the license of Henry Clay's illustrious
example here in doing? Have I done aught that I have not his
authority for, while maintaining that in organizing new Territories
and societies this fundamental principle should be regarded, and in
organized society holding it up to the public view and recognizing
what he recognized as the great principle of free government?

And when this new principle--this new proposition that no human being
ever thought of three years ago--is brought forward, I combat it as
having an evil tendency, if not an evil design. I combat it as
having a tendency to dehumanize the negro, to take away from him the
right of ever striving to be a man. I combat it as being one of the
thousand things constantly done in these days to prepare the public
mind to make property, and nothing but property, of the negro in all
the States of this Union.

But there is a point that I wish, before leaving this part of the
discussion, to ask attention to. I have read and I repeat the words
of Henry Clay:

"I desire no concealment of my opinions in regard to the institution
of slavery. I look upon it as a great evil, and deeply lament that
we have derived it from the parental government and from our
ancestors. I wish every slave in the United States was in the
country of his ancestors. But here they are, and the question is,
How can they be best dealt with? If a state of nature existed, and
we were about to lay the foundations of society, no man would be more
strongly opposed than I should be to incorporate the institution of
slavery amongst its elements."

The principle upon which I have insisted in this canvass is in
relation to laying the foundations of new societies. I have never
sought to apply these principles to the old States for the purpose of
abolishing slavery in those States. It is nothing but a miserable
perversion of what I have said, to assume that I have declared
Missouri, or any other slave State, shall emancipate her slaves; I
have proposed no such thing. But when Mr. Clay says that in laying
the foundations of society in our Territories where it does not
exist, he would be opposed to the introduction of slavery as an
element, I insist that we have his warrant--his license--for
insisting upon the exclusion of that element which he declared in
such strong and emphatic language was most hurtful to him.

Judge Douglas has again referred to a Springfield speech in which I
said "a house divided against itself cannot stand." The Judge has so
often made the entire quotation from that speech that I can make it
from memory. I used this language:

"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 the
slavery agitation. Under the operation of this 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 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."

That extract and the sentiments expressed in it have been extremely
offensive to Judge Douglas. He has warred upon them as Satan wars
upon the Bible. His perversions upon it are endless. Here now are
my views upon it in brief:

I said we were now far into the fifth year since a policy was
initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an
end to the slavery agitation. Is it not so? When that Nebraska Bill
was brought forward four years ago last January, was it not for the
"avowed object" of putting an end to the slavery agitation? We were
to have no more agitation in Congress; it was all to be banished to
the Territories. By the way, I will remark here that, as Judge
Douglas is very fond of complimenting Mr. Crittenden in these days,
Mr. Crittenden has said there was a falsehood in that whole business,
for there was no slavery agitation at that time to allay. We were
for a little while quiet on the troublesome thing, and that very
allaying plaster of Judge Douglas's stirred it up again. But was it
not understood or intimated with the "confident promise" of putting
an end to the slavery agitation? Surely it was. In every speech you
heard Judge Douglas make, until he got into this "imbroglio," as they
call it, with the Administration about the Lecompton Constitution,
every speech on that Nebraska Bill was full of his felicitations that
we were just at the end of the slavery agitation. The last tip of
the last joint of the old serpent's tail was just drawing out of
view. But has it proved so? I have asserted that under that policy
that agitation "has not only not ceased, but has constantly
augmented." When was there ever a greater agitation in Congress than
last winter? When was it as great in the country as to-day?

There was a collateral object in the introduction of that Nebraska
policy, which was to clothe the people of the Territories with a
superior degree of self-government, beyond what they had ever had
before. The first object and the main one of conferring upon the
people a higher degree of "self-government" is a question of fact to
be determined by you in answer to a single question. Have you ever
heard or known of a people anywhere on earth who had as little to do
as, in the first instance of its use, the people of Kansas had with
this same right of "self-government "? In its main policy and in its
collateral object, it has been nothing but a living, creeping lie
from the time of its introduction till to-day.

I have intimated that I thought the agitation would not cease until a
crisis should have been reached and passed. I have stated in what
way I thought it would be reached and passed. I have said that it
might go one way or the other. We might, by arresting the further
spread of it, and placing it where the fathers originally placed it,
put it where the public mind should rest in the belief that it was in
the course of ultimate extinction. Thus the agitation may cease. It
may be pushed forward until it shall become alike lawful in all the
States, old as well as new, North as well as South. I have said, and
I repeat, my wish is that the further spread of it may be arrested,
and that it may be where the public mind shall rest in the belief
that it is in the course of ultimate extinction--I have expressed
that as my wish I entertain the opinion, upon evidence sufficient to
my mind, that the fathers of this government placed that institution
where the public mind did rest in the belief that it was in the
course of ultimate extinction. Let me ask why they made provision
that the source of slavery--the African slave-trade--should be cut
off at the end of twenty years? Why did they make provision that in
all the new territory we owned at that time slavery should be forever
inhibited? Why stop its spread in one direction, and cut off its
source in another, if they did not look to its being placed in the
course of its ultimate extinction?

Again: the institution of slavery is only mentioned in the
Constitution of the United States two or three times, and in neither
of these cases does the word "slavery" or "negro race" occur; but
covert language is used each time, and for a purpose full of
significance. What is the language in regard to the prohibition of
the African slave-trade? It runs in about this way:

"The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States
now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by
the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight."

The next allusion in the Constitution to the question of slavery and
the black race is on the subject of the basis of representation, and
there the language used is:

"Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the
several States which may be included within this Union, according to
their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the
whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a
term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all
other persons."

It says "persons," not slaves, not negroes; but this "three-fifths"
can be applied to no other class among us than the negroes.

Lastly, in the provision for the reclamation of fugitive slaves, it
is said:

"No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws
thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or
regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor, but
shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or
labor may be due."

There again there is no mention of the word "negro" or of slavery.
In all three of these places, being the only allusions to slavery in
the instrument, covert language is used. Language is used not
suggesting that slavery existed or that the black race were among us.
And I understand the contemporaneous history of those times to be
that covert language was used with a purpose, and that purpose was
that in our Constitution, which it was hoped and is still hoped will
endure forever,--when it should be read by intelligent and patriotic
men, after the institution of slavery had passed from among us,--
there should be nothing on the face of the great charter of liberty
suggesting that such a thing as negro slavery had ever existed among
us. This is part of the evidence that the fathers of the government
expected and intended the institution of slavery to come to an end.
They expected and intended that it should be in the course of
ultimate extinction. And when I say that I desire to see the further
spread of it arrested, I only say I desire to see that done which the
fathers have first done. When I say I desire to see it placed where
the public mind will rest in the belief that it is in the course of
ultimate extinction, I only say I desire to see it placed where they
placed it. It is not true that our fathers, as Judge Douglas
assumes, made this government part slave and part free. Understand
the sense in which he puts it. He assumes that slavery is a rightful
thing within itself,--was introduced by the framers of the
Constitution. The exact truth is, that they found the institution
existing among us, and they left it as they found it. But in making
the government they left this institution with many clear marks of
disapprobation upon it. They found slavery among them, and they left
it among them because of the difficulty--the absolute impossibility--
of its immediate removal. And when Judge Douglas asks me why we
cannot let it remain part slave and part free, as the fathers of the
government made it, he asks a question based upon an assumption which
is itself a falsehood; and I turn upon him and ask him the question,
when the policy that the fathers of the government had adopted in
relation to this element among us was the best policy in the world,
the only wise policy, the only policy that we can ever safely
continue upon that will ever give us peace, unless this dangerous
element masters us all and becomes a national institution,--I turn
upon him and ask him why he could not leave it alone. I turn and ask
him why he was driven to the necessity of introducing a new policy in
regard to it. He has himself said he introduced a new policy. He
said so in his speech on the 22d of March of the present year, 1858.
I ask him why he could not let it remain where our fathers placed it.
I ask, too, of Judge Douglas and his friends why we shall not again
place this institution upon the basis on which the fathers left it.
I ask you, when he infers that I am in favor of setting the free and
slave States at war, when the institution was placed in that attitude
by those who made the Constitution, did they make any war? If we had
no war out of it when thus placed, wherein is the ground of belief
that we shall have war out of it if we return to that policy? Have
we had any peace upon this matter springing from any other basis? I
maintain that we have not. I have proposed nothing more than a
return to the policy of the fathers.

I confess, when I propose a certain measure of policy, it is not
enough for me that I do not intend anything evil in the result, but
it is incumbent on me to show that it has not a tendency to that
result. I have met Judge Douglas in that point of view. I have not
only made the declaration that I do not mean to produce a conflict
between the States, but I have tried to show by fair reasoning, and I
think I have shown to the minds of fair men, that I propose nothing
but what has a most peaceful tendency. The quotation that I happened
to make in that Springfield Speech, that "a house divided against
itself cannot stand," and which has proved so offensive to the judge,
was part and parcel of the same thing. He tries to show that variety
in the democratic institutions of the different States is necessary
and indispensable. I do not dispute it. I have no controversy with
Judge Douglas about that. I shall very readily agree with him that
it would be foolish for us to insist upon having a cranberry law here
in Illinois, where we have no cranberries, because they have a
cranberry law in Indiana, where they have cranberries. I should
insist that it would be exceedingly wrong in us to deny to Virginia
the right to enact oyster laws, where they have oysters, because we
want no such laws here. I understand, I hope, quite as well as Judge
Douglas or anybody else, that the variety in the soil and climate and
face of the country, and consequent variety in the industrial
pursuits and productions of a country, require systems of law
conforming to this variety in the natural features of the country. I
understand quite as well as Judge Douglas that if we here raise a
barrel of flour more than we want, and the Louisianians raise a
barrel of sugar more than they want, it is of mutual advantage to
exchange. That produces commerce, brings us together, and makes us
better friends. We like one another the more for it. And I
understand as well as Judge Douglas, or anybody else, that these
mutual accommodations are the cements which bind together the
different parts of this Union; that instead of being a thing to
"divide the house,"--figuratively expressing the Union,--they tend to
sustain it; they are the props of the house, tending always to hold
it up.

But when I have admitted all this, I ask if there is any parallel
between these things and this institution of slavery? I do not see
that there is any parallel at all between them. Consider it. When
have we had any difficulty or quarrel amongst ourselves about the
cranberry laws of Indiana, or the oyster laws of Virginia, or the
pine-lumber laws of Maine, or the fact that Louisiana produces sugar,
and Illinois flour? When have we had any quarrels over these things?
When have we had perfect peace in regard to this thing which I say is
an element of discord in this Union? We have sometimes had peace,
but when was it? It was when the institution of slavery remained
quiet where it was. We have had difficulty and turmoil whenever it
has made a struggle to spread itself where it was not. I ask, then,
if experience does not speak in thunder-tones telling us that the
policy which has given peace to the country heretofore, being
returned to, gives the greatest promise of peace again. You may say,
and Judge Douglas has intimated the same thing, that all this
difficulty in regard to the institution of slavery is the mere
agitation of office-seekers and ambitious Northern politicians. He
thinks we want to get "his place," I suppose. I agree that there are
office-seekers amongst us. The Bible says somewhere that we are
desperately selfish. I think we would have discovered that fact
without the Bible. I do not claim that I am any less so than the
average of men, but I do claim that I am not more selfish than Judge

But is it true that all the difficulty and agitation we have in
regard to this institution of slavery spring from office-seeking,
from the mere ambition of politicians? Is that the truth? How many
times have we had danger from this question? Go back to the day of
the Missouri Compromise. Go back to the nullification question, at
the bottom of which lay this same slavery question. Go back to the
time of the annexation of Texas. Go back to the troubles that led to
the Compromise of 1850. You will find that every time, with the
single exception of the Nullification question, they sprung from an
endeavor to spread this institution. There never was a party in the
history of this country, and there probably never will be, of
sufficient strength to disturb the general peace of the country.
Parties themselves may be divided and quarrel on minor questions, yet
it extends not beyond the parties themselves. But
does not this question make a disturbance outside of political
circles? Does it not enter into the churches and rend them asunder?
What divided the great Methodist Church into two parts, North and
South? What has raised this constant disturbance in every
Presbyterian General Assembly that meets? What disturbed the
Unitarian Church in this very city two years ago? What has jarred
and shaken the great American Tract Society recently, not yet
splitting it, but sure to divide it in the end? Is it not this same
mighty, deep-seated power that somehow operates on the minds of men,
exciting and stirring them up in every avenue of society,--in
politics, in religion, in literature, in morals, in all the manifold
relations of life? Is this the work of politicians? Is that
irresistible power, which for fifty years has shaken the government
and agitated the people, to be stifled and subdued by pretending that
it is an exceedingly simple thing, and we ought not to talk about it?
If you will get everybody else to stop talking about it, I assure you
I will quit before they have half done so. But where is the
philosophy or statesmanship which assumes that you can quiet that
disturbing element in our society which has disturbed us for more
than half a century, which has been the only serious danger that has
threatened our institutions,--I say, where is the philosophy or the
statesmanship based on the assumption that we are to quit talking
about it, and that the public mind is all at once to cease being
agitated by it? Yet this is the policy here in the North that
Douglas is advocating, that we are to care nothing about it! I ask
you if it is not a false philosophy. Is it not a false statesmanship
that undertakes to build up a system of policy upon the basis of
caring nothing about the very thing that everybody does care the most
about--a thing which all experience has shown we care a very great
deal about?

The Judge alludes very often in the course of his remarks to the
exclusive right which the States have to decide the whole thing for
themselves. I agree with him very readily that the different States
have that right. He is but fighting a man of straw when he assumes
that I am contending against the right of the States to do as they
please about it. Our controversy with him is in regard to the new
Territories. We agree that when the States come in as States they
have the right and the power to do as they please. We have no power
as citizens of the free-States, or in our Federal capacity as members
of the Federal Union through the General Government, to disturb
slavery in the States where it exists. We profess constantly that we
have no more inclination than belief in the power of the government
to disturb it; yet we are driven constantly to defend ourselves from
the assumption that we are warring upon the rights of the Sates.
What I insist upon is, that the new Territories shall be kept free
from it while in the Territorial condition. Judge Douglas assumes
that we have no interest in them,--that we have no right whatever to
interfere. I think we have some interest. I think that as white men
we have. Do we not wish for an outlet for our surplus population, if
I may so express myself? Do we not feel an interest in getting to
that outlet with such institutions as we would like to have prevail
there? If you go to the Territory opposed to slavery, and another
man comes upon the same ground with his slave, upon the assumption
that the things are equal, it turns out that he has the equal right
all his way, and you have no part of it your way. If he goes in and
makes it a slave Territory, and by consequence a slave State, is it
not time that those who desire to have it a free State were on equal
ground? Let me suggest it in a different way. How many Democrats
are there about here ["A thousand"] who have left slave States and
come into the free State of Illinois to get rid of the institution of
slavery? [Another voice: "A thousand and one."] I reckon there are a
thousand and one. I will ask you, if the policy you are now
advocating had prevailed when this country was in a Territorial
condition, where would you have gone to get rid of it? Where would
you have found your free State or Territory to go to? And when
hereafter, for any cause, the people in this place shall desire to
find new homes, if they wish to be rid of the institution, where will
they find the place to go to?

Now, irrespective of the moral aspect of this question as to whether
there is a right or wrong in enslaving a negro, I am still in favor
of our new Territories being in such a condition that white men may
find a home,--may find some spot where they can better their
condition; where they can settle upon new soil and better their
condition in life. I am in favor of this, not merely (I must say it
here as I have elsewhere) for our own people who are born amongst us,
but as an outlet for free white people everywhere the world over--in
which Hans, and Baptiste, and Patrick, and all other men from all the
world, may find new homes and better their conditions in life.

I have stated upon former occasions, and I may as well state again,
what I understand to be the real issue in this controversy between
Judge Douglas and myself. On the point of my wanting to make war
between the free and the slave States, there has been no issue
between us. So, too, when he assumes that I am in favor of producing
a perfect social and political equality between the white and black
races. These are false issues, upon which Judge Douglas has tried to
force the controversy. There is no foundation in truth for the
charge that I maintain either of these propositions. The real issue
in this controversy--the one pressing upon every mind--is the
sentiment on the part of one class that looks upon the institution of
slavery as a wrong, and of another class that does not look upon it
as a wrong. The sentiment that contemplates the institution of
slavery in this country as a wrong is the sentiment of the Republican
party. It is the sentiment around which all their actions, all their
arguments, circle, from which all their propositions radiate. They
look upon it as being a moral, social, and political wrong; and while
they contemplate it a, such, they nevertheless have due regard for
its actual existence among us, and the difficulties of getting rid of
it in any satisfactory way, and to all the constitutional obligations
thrown about it. Yet, having a due regard for these, they desire a
policy in regard to it that looks to its not creating any more
danger. They insist that it should, as far as may be, be treated as
a wrong; and one of the methods of treating it as a wrong is to make
provision that it shall grow no larger. They also desire a policy
that looks to a peaceful end of slavery at some time. These are the
views they entertain in regard to it as I understand them; and all
their sentiments, all their arguments and propositions, are brought
within this range. I have said, and I repeat it here, that if there
be a man amongst us who does not think that the institution of
slavery is wrong in any one of the aspects of which I have spoken, he
is misplaced, and ought not to be with us. And if there be a man
amongst us who is so impatient of it as a wrong as to disregard its
actual presence among us and the difficulty of getting rid of it
suddenly in a satisfactory way, and to disregard the constitutional
obligations thrown about it, that man is misplaced if he is on our
platform. We disclaim sympathy with him in practical action. He is
not placed properly with us.

On this subject of treating it as a wrong, and limiting its spread,
let me say a word. Has anything ever threatened the existence of
this Union save and except this very institution of slavery? What is
it that we hold most dear amongst us? Our own liberty and
prosperity. What has ever threatened our liberty and prosperity,
save and except this institution of slavery? If this is true, how do
you propose to improve the condition of things by enlarging slavery,
by spreading it out and making it bigger? You may have a wen or
cancer upon your person, and not be able to cut it out, lest you
bleed to death; but surely it is no way to cure it, to engraft it and
spread it over your whole body. That is no proper way of treating
what you regard a wrong. You see this peaceful way of dealing with
it as a wrong, restricting the spread of it, and not allowing it to
go into new countries where it has not already existed. That is the
peaceful way, the old-fashioned way, the way in which the fathers
themselves set us the example.

On the other hand, I have said there is a sentiment which treats it
as not being wrong. That is the Democratic sentiment of this day. I
do not mean to say that every man who stands within that range
positively asserts that it is right. That class will include all who
positively assert that it is right, and all who, like Judge Douglas,
treat it as indifferent and do not say it is either right or wrong.
These two classes of men fall within the general class of those who
do not look upon it as a wrong. And if there be among you anybody
who supposes that he, as a Democrat, can consider himself "as much
opposed to slavery as anybody," I would like to reason with him. You
never treat it as a wrong. What other thing that you consider as a
wrong do you deal with as you deal with that? Perhaps you say it is
wrong--but your leader never does, and you quarrel with anybody who
says it is wrong. Although you pretend to say so yourself, you can
find no fit place to deal with it as a wrong. You must not say
anything about it in the free States, because it is not here. You
must not say anything about it in the slave States, because it is
there. You must not say anything about it in the pulpit, because
that is religion, and has nothing to do with it. You must not say
anything about it in politics, because that will disturb the security
of "my place." There is no place to talk about it as being a wrong,
although you say yourself it is a wrong. But, finally, you will
screw yourself up to the belief that if the people of the slave
States should adopt a system of gradual emancipation on the slavery
question, you would be in favor of it. You would be in favor of it.
You say that is getting it in the right place, and you would be glad
to see it succeed. But you are deceiving yourself. You all know
that Frank Blair and Gratz Brown, down there in St. Louis, undertook
to introduce that system in Missouri. They fought as valiantly as
they could for the system of gradual emancipation which you pretend
you would be glad to see succeed. Now, I will bring you to the test.
After a hard fight they were beaten, and when the news came over
here, you threw up your hats and hurrahed for Democracy. More than
that, take all the argument made in favor of the system you have
proposed, and it carefully excludes the idea that there is anything
wrong in the institution of slavery. The arguments to sustain that
policy carefully exclude it. Even here to-day you heard Judge
Douglas quarrel with me because I uttered a wish that it might
sometime come to an end. Although Henry Clay could say he wished
every slave in the United States was in the country of his ancestors,
I am denounced by those pretending to respect Henry Clay for uttering
a wish that it might sometime, in some peaceful way, come to an end.
The Democratic policy in regard to that institution will not tolerate
the merest breath, the slightest hint, of the least degree of wrong
about it. Try it by some of Judge Douglas's arguments. He says he
"don't care whether it is voted up or voted down" in the Territories.
I do not care myself, in dealing with that expression, whether it is
intended to be expressive of his individual sentiments on the
subject, or only of the national policy he desires to have
established. It is alike valuable for my purpose. Any man can say
that who does not see anything wrong in slavery; but no man can
logically say it who does see a wrong in it, because no man can
logically say he don't care whether a wrong is voted up or voted
down. He may say he don't care whether an indifferent thing is voted
up or down, but he must logically have a choice between a right thing
and a wrong thing. He contends that whatever community wants slaves
has a right to have them. So they have, if it is not a wrong. But
if it is a wrong, he cannot say people have a right to do wrong. He
says that upon the score of equality slaves should be allowed to go
in a new Territory, like other property. This is strictly logical if
there is no difference between it and other property. If it and
other property are equal, this argument is entirely logical. But if
you insist that one is wrong and the other right, there is no use to
institute a comparison between right and wrong. You may turn over
everything in the Democratic policy from beginning to end, whether in
the shape it takes on the statute book, in the shape it takes in the
Dred Scott decision, in the shape it takes in conversation, or the
shape it takes in short maxim-like arguments,--it everywhere
carefully excludes the idea that there is anything wrong in it.

That is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this
country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be
silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles--
right and wrong--throughout the world. They are the two principles
that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will
ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity,
and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in
whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says,
"You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it." No matter in
what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to
bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their
labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another
race, it is the same tyrannical principle. I was glad to express my
gratitude at Quincy, and I re-express it here, to Judge Douglas,--
that he looks to no end of the institution of slavery. That will
help the people to see where the struggle really is. It will
hereafter place with us all men who really do wish the wrong may have
an end. And whenever we can get rid of the fog which obscures the
real question, when we can get Judge Douglas and his friends to avow
a policy looking to its perpetuation,--we can get out from among that
class of men and bring them to the side of those who treat it as a
wrong. Then there will soon be an end of it, and that end will be
its "ultimate extinction." Whenever the issue can be distinctly
made, and all extraneous matter thrown out so that men can fairly see
the real difference between the parties, this controversy will soon
be settled, and it will be done peaceably too. There will be no war,
no violence. It will be placed again where the wisest and best men
of the world placed it. Brooks of South Carolina once declared that
when this Constitution was framed its framers did not look to the
institution existing until this day. When he said this, I think he
stated a fact that is fully borne out by the history of the times.
But he also said they were better and wiser men than the men of these
days, yet the men of these days had experience which they had not,
and by the invention of the cotton-gin it became a necessity in this
country that slavery should be perpetual. I now say that, willingly
or unwillingly--purposely or without purpose, Judge Douglas has been
the most prominent instrument in changing the position of the
institution of slavery,--which the fathers of the government expected
to come to an end ere this, and putting it upon Brooks's cotton-gin
basis; placing it where he openly confesses he has no desire there
shall ever be an end of it.

I understand I have ten minutes yet. I will employ it in saying
something about this argument Judge Douglas uses, while he sustains
the Dred Scott decision, that the people of the Territories can still
somehow exclude slavery. The first thing I ask attention to is the
fact that Judge Douglas constantly said, before the decision, that
whether they could or not, was a question for the Supreme Court. But
after the court had made the decision he virtually says it is not a
question for the Supreme Court, but for the people. And how is it he
tells us they can exclude it? He says it needs "police regulations,"
and that admits of "unfriendly legislation." Although it is a right
established by the Constitution of the United States to take a slave
into a Territory of the United States and hold him as property, yet
unless the Territorial Legislature will give friendly legislation,
and more especially if they adopt unfriendly legislation, they can
practically exclude him. Now, without meeting this proposition as a
matter of fact, I pass to consider the real constitutional
obligation. Let me take the gentleman who looks me in the face
before me, and let us suppose that he is a member of the Territorial
Legislature. The first thing he will do will be to swear that he
will support the Constitution of the United States. His neighbor by
his side in the Territory has slaves and needs Territorial
legislation to enable him to enjoy that constitutional right. Can he
withhold the legislation which his neighbor needs for the enjoyment
of a right which is fixed in his favor in the Constitution of the
United States which he has sworn to support? Can he withhold it
without violating his oath? And, more especially, can he pass
unfriendly legislation to violate his oath? Why, this is a monstrous
sort of talk about the Constitution of the United States! There has
never been as outlandish or lawless a doctrine from the mouth of any
respectable man on earth. I do not believe it is a constitutional
right to hold slaves in a Territory of the United States. I believe
the decision was improperly made and I go for reversing it. Judge
Douglas is furious against those who go for reversing a decision.
But he is for legislating it out of all force while the law itself
stands. I repeat that there has never been so monstrous a doctrine
uttered from the mouth of a respectable man.

I suppose most of us (I know it of myself) believe that the people of
the Southern States are entitled to a Congressional Fugitive Slave
law,--that is a right fixed in the Constitution. But it cannot be
made available to them without Congressional legislation. In the
Judge's language, it is a "barren right," which needs legislation
before it can become efficient and valuable to the persons to whom it
is guaranteed. And as the right is constitutional, I agree that the
legislation shall be granted to it, and that not that we like the
institution of slavery. We profess to have no taste for running and
catching niggers, at least, I profess no taste for that job at all.
Why then do I yield support to a Fugitive Slave law? Because I do
not understand that the Constitution, which guarantees that right,
can be supported without it. And if I believed that the right to
hold a slave in a Territory was equally fixed in the Constitution
with the right to reclaim fugitives, I should be bound to give it the
legislation necessary to support it. I say that no man can deny his
obligation to give the necessary legislation to support slavery in a
Territory, who believes it is a constitutional right to have it
there. No man can, who does not give the Abolitionists an argument
to deny the obligation enjoined by the Constitution to enact a
Fugitive State law. Try it now. It is the strongest Abolition
argument ever made. I say if that Dred Scott decision is correct,
then the right to hold slaves in a Territory is equally a
constitutional right with the right of a slaveholder to have his
runaway returned. No one can show the distinction between them. The
one is express, so that we cannot deny it. The other is construed to
be in the Constitution, so that he who believes the decision to be
correct believes in the right. And the man who argues that by
unfriendly legislation, in spite of that constitutional right,
slavery may be driven from the Territories, cannot avoid furnishing
an argument by which Abolitionists may deny the obligation to return
fugitives, and claim the power to pass laws unfriendly to the right
of the slaveholder to reclaim his fugitive. I do not know how such
an arguement may strike a popular assembly like this, but I defy
anybody to go before a body of men whose minds are educated to
estimating evidence and reasoning, and show that there is an iota of
difference between the constitutional right to reclaim a fugitive and
the constitutional right to hold a slave, in a Territory, provided
this Dred Scott decision is correct, I defy any man to make an
argument that will justify unfriendly legislation to deprive a
slaveholder of his right to hold his slave in a Territory, that will
not equally, in all its length, breadth, and thickness, furnish an
argument for nullifying the Fugitive Slave law. Why, there is not
such an Abolitionist in the nation as Douglas, after all!


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