The Life, Public Services and State Papers of Abraham Lincoln

By Henry J. Raymond

Chapter 2



THE pressure of the slavery contest at last fully organized the Republican party, which held its first convention for the nomination of President and Vice-President at Philadelphia, on June 17, 1856. John G. Fremont was nominated for President, and William L. Dayton for "V ice-President. Mr. Lincoln's name was prominent before the convention for the latter office, and on the informal ballot he stood next to Mr. Dayton, receiving 110 votes. Mr. Lincoln' s name headed the Republican electoral ticket in Illinois, and he took an active part in the canvass, but the Democrats carried the State, though only by a plurality vote.

Meanwhile, Senator Douglas embraced every opportunity to keep himself and his doctrines before the people, but whichever way he turned, he found his vigilant antagonist constantly in his front. For twenty years the two had been so invariably opposed to each other in politics, that whenever Mr. Douglas made a speech, the people instinctively anticipated a reply from Mr. Lincoln; and there was a special Providence in thus opposing to the wily, deceptive sophistries of the former the clear, incisive common sense of the latter, which the multitude could not avoid comprehending. Early in June, 1857, Senator Douglas made his famous speech in Springfield, which was universally accepted as a declaration that he meant to sustain all the acts of the Lecompton Convention, even though a proslavery constitution should be formed, the responsibility for the adoption of which he meant to fasten upon the Republican party, since it was anticipated that the members of that organization in the Territory would refrain from voting. He further indorsed the Dred Scott decision in this same speech, and, in discussing the Utah rebellion, proposed to end the difficulty by annulling the act establishing the Territory. Mr. Lincoln promptly took issue with him upon all these points, in a speech also delivered at Springfield, two weeks later. He declared himself in favor of "coercing" the people of Utah into obedience, and while he "did not admit or deny that the Judge's method of coercing them might not be as good as any," he showed how Mr. Douglas abandoned his principles, and "his much-vaunted doctrine of self-government for the Territories," by suggesting such a plan. He then defended the course of action which the Republicans in Kansas had adopted, and ridiculed mercilessly the mythical "Free State Democrats," of whom so much had been said. Next he discussed the Dred Scott decision, and showed that, in denouncing it, he had not gone so far as Mr. Douglas himself had done in applauding General Jackson for disregarding the decision of the same tribunal upon the constitutionality of the National Bank. Quoting from the Dred Scott decision some expressions in which Chief Justice Taney intimated that the public estimate of the black man was more favorable then than it was in the days of the revolution, Mr. Lincoln replied to the implication in the following forcible manner:

This assumption is a mistake. In some trifling particulars the condition of that race has been ameliorated; but, as a whole, in this country, the change between then and now is decidedly the other way; and their ultimate destiny has never appeared so hopeless as in the last three or four years. In two of the five States New Jersey and North Carolina that then gave the free negro the right of voting, the right has since been token away; and in the third New York it has been greatly abridged, while it has not been extended, so far as I know, to a single additional State, though the number of the States has more than doubled. In those 'lays, as I understand, masters could, at their own pleasure, emancipate their slaves; but, since then, such legal restraints have been made upon emancipation as to amount almost to prohibition. In those days, legislatures held the unquestioned power to abolish slavery in their respective States; but now it is becoming quite fashionable for State constitutions to withhold that power from the legislatures. In those days, by common consent, the spread of the black man's bondage to the new countries was prohibited; but now, Congress decides that it will not continue the prohibition, and the Supreme Court decides that it could not, if it would. In those days, our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all, and thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed, sneered at, construed, hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it. All the powers of earth seem rapidly combining against him. Mammon is after him; ambition follows, philosophy follows, and the theology of the day is fast joining the cry. They have him in his prison-house; they have searched his person, and left no prying instrument with him. One after another they have closed the heavy iron doors upon him; and now they have him, as it were, bolted in with a lock of a hundred keys, which can never be unlocked without the concurrence of every key; the keys in the hands of a hundred different men, and they scattered to a hundred different and distant places; and they stand musing as to what invention, in all the dominions of mind and matter, can be produced to make the impossibility of his escape more complete than it is.

It is grossly incorrect to say or assume that the public estimate of the negro is more favorable now than it was at the origin of the Government.

No one would have been more surprised than Mr. Lincoln himself, could the fact have been revealed to him, when uttering these words, that through him as an humble instrument in the hands of Providence, and in the brief space of eight years, a vast change would be brought about in the status, of that class, whose sufferings and wrongs he thus eloquently depicted.

In this same speech Mr. Lincoln turned from the course of his argument for a moment, to demolish, in his characteristic manner, the absurd charge which his opponent had demeaned himself by repeating, that, in laboring to secure the negro his rights, the Republicans desired to place him on a complete political and social equality with themselves. He said:

There is a natural disgust, in the minds of nearly all white people, to the idea of an indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races; and Judge Douglas evidently is basing his chief hope upon the chances of his being able to appropriate the benefit of this disgust to himself. If ho can, by much drumming and repeating, fasten the odium of that idea upon his adversaries, he thinks he can struggle through the storm. He therefore clings to this hope, as a drowning man to the last plank. He makes an occasion for lugging it in from the opposition to the Dred Scott decision. He finds the Republicans insisting that the Declaration of Independence includes ALL men, black as well as white, and forthwith he boldly denies that it includes negroes at all, and proceeds to argue gravely that all who contend that it does, do so only because they want to vote, eat and sleep, and marry with negroes! He will have it that they cannot be consistent else. Now, I protest against the counterfeit logic which concludes that, because I do not want a black woman for a slave, I must necessarily want her for a wife. I need not have her for either. I can just leave her alone. In some respects, she certainly is not my equal; but in her natural right to eat the bread she earns with her own hands, without asking leave of any one else, she is my equal, and the equal of all others.

We have thus presented the leading points in these two speeches, because the discussion was the prelude to the famous Senatorial contest of 1858, which gave Mr. Lincoln a national reputation, not only as an able debater and eloquent orator, but as a sagacious and wise politician wise enough to stand inflexibly by principles of the soundness of which he was himself satisfied, even against the judgment of earnest friends.

On the 4th of March, 1857, Mr. Buchanan had taken his seat in the Presidential chair. The struggle between freedom and slavery for the possession of Kansas was at its height. A few days after his inauguration, the Supreme Court rendered the Dred Scott decision, which was thought by the friends of slavery to insure their victory, by its holding the Missouri Compromise to be unconstitutional, because the Constitution itself carried slavery all over the Territories of the United States. In spite of this decision, the friends of freedom in Kansas maintained their ground. The slaveholders, however, pushed forward their schemes, and in November, 1857, their Constitutional Convention, held at Lecompton, adopted the Lecompton Constitution. The trick by which they submitted to the popular vote only a schedule on the slavery question, instead of the whole Constitution, compelling every voter, however he might vote upon this schedule. to vote for their Constitution, which fixed slavery upon the State just as surely, whether the schedule was adopted or not, will be well remembered, as well as the feeling which so unjust a device excited throughout the North. Judge Douglas had sustained the Dred Scott decision, "but he could not sustain this attempt to force upon the people of Kansas a Constitution against their will. He took ground openly and "boldly against it denouncing it in the Senate and elsewhere as an outrage upon the people of Kansas, and a violation of every just Democratic principle. He declared that he did not care whether the people voted the Slavery clause "up or down," but he thought they ought to have the chance to vote for or against the Constitution itself.

The Administration had made the measure their own, and this opposition of Douglas at once excited against him the active hostility of the slaveholders and their friends, with whom he had hitherto acted in concert. The bill was finally passed through Congress on April 30th, 1858, under what is known as the English Bill, whereby the Constitution was to be submitted to the votes of the people of Kansas, with the offer of heavy bribes to them, in the way of donations of land, etc., if they would accept it; and the people, in spite of the bribes, voted it down by an immense majority.

Judge Douglas's term was on the eve of expiring, and he came home to Illinois after the adjournment of Congress, to attend in person to the political campaign, upon the result of which was to depend his re-election to the Senate.

His course on the Lecompton bill had made an open breach between him and the Administration, and he had rendered such good service to the Republicans, in their battle with that monstrous infamy, that there were not wanting many among them who were inclined to think it would be wise not to oppose his re-election.

But the Republicans of Illinois thought otherwise. They knew that he was not in any sense a Republican. They knew that on the cardinal principle of the Republican party, opposition to the spread of Slavery into the Territories, he was not with them; for he had declared in the most positive way that he "did not care whether Slavery was voted down or up." And they therefore determined, in opposition to the views of some influential Republicans, at home as well as in other States, to fight the battle through against him, with all the energy that they could bring to the work. And to this end, on the 17th of June, 1858, at their State Convention at Springfield, they nominated Mr. Lincoln as their candidate for the Senate of the United States.

The circumstances we have briefly sketched invested the campaign about to open with national importance. The people of the whole Union saw that the struggle then initiated in Illinois must ultimately extend to other States, and they knew that they would soon be compelled themselves to pass upon the questions there to be decided. None doubted that the principle of "Popular Sovereignty'' would be thoroughly examined, for the reputation of the two combatants as men of extraordinary ability was established. It was the universal expectation that each aspirant for senatorial honors would display peculiar caution in opening the struggle, in order to prevent the other from gaining any undue advantage; but Mr. Lincoln scorned every appearance of subterfuge or evasion. His opinions had become sharply defined and clearly crystallized during the contests through which he had passed in the years preceding, and in his speech to the Convention which nominated him, signifying his acceptance of the honor conferred upon him, he expressed himself so unreservedly and frankly that even his supporters were for the moment startled.

In a speech delivered at Chicago, July 9, the first after Mr. Lincoln's nomination, Senator Douglas alluded to this address as having been " well prepared and carefully written." In reply, Mr. Lincoln said, " Gentlemen. Judge Douglas informed you that this speech of mine was probably carefully prepared. I admit that it was. I am not a 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." In the address thus alluded to, Mr. Lincoln struck the key-note of the campaign. Its exposition of his political creed, and his statement of the important points at issue, is so succinct and complete that we reproduce it here. It is as follows:

MR. PRESIDENT, AND GENTLEMEN OF THE CONVENTION: If we could first 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 he 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 there from; 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 Court."

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, 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 re-argument. 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 forthcoming 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 entertained.

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:

First. 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 awhile, 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, whither 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 re-argument? Why the incoming President's advance exhortation in favor of the decision? These things look like the cautious patting and petting of a spirited horse preparatory to mounting him, when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a fall. And why the hasty after indorsement of the decision by the President and others?

We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of 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 mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few not omitting even 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 therein 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 it ?

There are those who denounce us openly to their own friends, and yet whisper 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 any thing 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 obstacle. But, clearly, he is not now with us he does not pretend to be he does not promise ever to be.

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.

The first paragraph of this speech has become famous in our political history, and the whole address, with its bold utterance of truths which many, even of Mr. Lincoln' s supporters, did not at that time care to face, was a fitting prelude to the great contest which was to follow. Although, as its author admitted, it had been carefully prepared, he had not consulted with any of his friends regarding it, and none of them, even those with whom he was the most intimate, knew of the positions which he intended to take, until they heard them enunciated from the platform in Springfield, on that memorable June 17. Three weeks later (July 9), Senator Douglas arrived in Chicago, where his friends welcomed him with the most ostentatious demonstrations. On the same day he made a speech, reviewing Mr. Lincoln's address to the Springfield Convention. He spoke of Mr. Lincoln as "a kind, amiable, and intelligent gentleman, a good citizen and an honorable opponent," and then proceeded to reply to the speech in question, assuming a tone of superiority almost amounting to superciliousness. He was especially severe upon the introductory passage of Mr. Lincoln' s address, in which he asserted his belief that the Government could not endure half slave and half free. Mr. Lincoln was himself present during the delivery of Senator Douglas' s speech, and on the next evening took occasion to reply to it before an immense assemblage, specially convened for that purpose. After a few introductory remarks, Mr. Lincoln thus alluded to the famous phrase which had become the watchword of the Democratic party for the campaign:

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. Today 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?

The Lecompton Constitution and its fate were next discussed, and then Mr. Lincoln proceeded to reply to the inferences which his opponent had so characteristically but unwarrantably drawn from the introductory paragraph of his Springfield speech. He said:

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 any thing 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 speech.

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 hut enough. What were they hut 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 any thing I have ever intended, and, as I believe, by any thing 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 any thing I have ever said.

These speeches in Chicago and those that had preceded them made it evident that the struggle was to take the shape of a personal contest between the two men, and in every respect, physically, mentally, and politically, they were thoroughly antagonistic to each other. Each, moreover, recognized the other as the embodiment of principles to which he was in deadly hostility. Judge Douglas was the champion of all sympathizers with slavery at the North of those who openly advocated it, and still more of those who took the more plausible and dangerous part of not caring whether it'' was voted down or up." Mr. Lincoln's soul was on fire with love for freedom and for humanity, and with reverence for the Fathers of the country, and for the principles of freedom for all, under the light of which they marched. He felt that the contest was no mere local one; that it was comparatively of little consequence which man succeeded in the fight, but that it was all-important that the banner of freedom should be borne with no faltering step, but "full high advanced." And thus through the whole campaign he sought with all his power to press home to the hearts of the people the principles, the example, and the teachings of the men of the Revolution.

At the time of the delivery of the speeches in Chicago, to which we have already alluded, there was no understanding regarding joint discussions. One week later, however, both spoke in Springfield on the same day, but before different audiences; and one week later, Mr. Lincoln addressed a letter to Douglas, challenging him to a series of debates during the campaign.

The challenge was Accepted, and arrangements were at once made for the meetings. The terms proposed by Mr. Douglas whether intentionally or unintentionally does not appear were such as to give him the decided advantage of having four opening and closing speeches to Mr. Lincoln' s three; but Mr. Lincoln, while noticing the inequality, did not hesitate to accept them.

The seven joint debates were held as follows: at Ottawa, on August 21st; at Freeport, on August 27th; at Jonesboro, on September 15th; at Charleston, on September 18th; at Galesburg, on October 7th; at Quincy, on October 13th; at Alton, on October 15th. These seven tournaments raised the greatest excitement throughout the State. They were held in all quarters of the State, from Freeport in the north to Jonesboro in the extreme south. Everywhere the different parties turned out to do honor to their champions. Processions and cavalcades, bands of music and cannon-firing, made every day a day of. excitement. But far greater was the excitement of such oratorical contests between two such skilled debaters, before mixed audiences of friends and foes, to rejoice over every keen thrust at the adversary, to be cast down by each failure to parry the thrust so aimed. It is impossible to present here any thing more than the barest sketch of these great efforts of Mr. Lincoln. They are, and always will be, to those who are interested in the history of the slavery contest, most valuable and important documents. In the first of these joint debates, which took place at Ottawa, Mr. Douglas again rung the changes upon the introductory passage of Mr. Lincoln's Springfield speech, "a house divided against itself," etc. Mr. Lincoln reiterated his assertion, and defended it in effect, as he did in his speech at Chicago. Then he took up the charge which he had previously made, of the existence of a conspiracy to extend slavery over the Northern States, and pressed it home, citing as proof a speech which Mr. Douglas himself had made on the Lecompton bill, in which he had substantially made the same charge against Buchanan and others. He then showed again, that all that was necessary for the accomplishment of the scheme was a decision of the Supreme Court that no State could exclude slavery, as the court had already decided that no Territory could exclude it, and the acquiescence of the people in such a decision; and he told his hearers that Douglas was doing all in his power to bring about such acquiescence in advance, by declaring that the true position was, not to care whether slavery'' was voted down or up," and by announcing himself in favor of the Dred Scott decision, not because it was right, but because a decision of the court is to him a "Thus saith the Lord," and thus committing himself to the next decision just as firmly as to this. He closed his speech with the following eloquent words:

Henry Clay, my beau-ideal of a statesman, the man for whom I fought all my humble life Henry Clay once said of a class of men who would repress all tendencies to liberty and ultimate emancipation, that they must, if they would do this, go back to the era of our independence, and muzzle the cannon which thunders its annual joyous return; they must blow out the moral lights around us; they must penetrate the human soul, and eradicate there the love of liberty; and then, and not till then, could they perpetuate slavery in this country! To my thinking, Judge Douglas is, by his example and vast influence, doing that very thing in this community, when he says that the negro has nothing in the Declaration of Independence. Henry Clay plainly understood the contrary Judge Douglas is going back to the era of our Revolution, and, to the extent of his ability, muzzling the cannon which thunders its annual joyous return. When lie invites any people, willing to have slavery, to establish it, he is blowing out the moral lights around us. "When he says, he " cares not whether slavery is voted down or voted up," that it is a sacred right of self-government, he is, in my judgment, penetrating the human soul, and eradicating the light of reason and the love of liberty in this American people. And now I will only say hat when, by all these means and appliances, Judge Douglas shall succeed in bringing public sentiment to an exact accordance with his own views when these vast assemblages shall echo back all these sentiments when they shall come to repeat his views and to avow his principles, and to say all that he says on these mighty questions then it needs only the formality of the second Dred Scott decision, which he indorses in advance, to make slavery alike lawful in all the States old as well as new, North as well as South.

The debate at Freeport the second of the series took place August 27, and was marked by Mr. Lincoln answering a series of seven questions proposed by his opponent. We give the interrogatories and the replies, as follows:

Question 1. I desire to know whether Lincoln to-day stands, as he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave law ?

Answer. I do net now, nor ever did, stand in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave law.

Q. 2. I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to-day, as he did in 1854, against the admission of any more slave States into the Union, even if the people want them?

A. I do not now, or ever did, stand pledged against the admission of any more slave States into the Union.

Q. 3. I want to know whether he stands pledged against the admission of a new State into the Union with such a Constitution as the people of that State may see fit to make?

A. I do not stand pledged against the admission of a new State into the Union, with such a Constitution as the people of that State may see fit to make.

Q. 4. I want to know whether he stands to-day pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia?

A. I do not stand to-day pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.

Q. 5. I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to the prohibition of the slave-trade between the different States?

A. I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the slave-trade between the different States.

Q. 6. 1 desire to know whether he stands pledged to prohibit slavery in all the Territories of the United States, North as well as South of the Missouri Compromise line?

A. I am impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a belief in the right and duty of Congress to prohibit slavery in all the United States Territories.

Q. 7. I desire him to answer whether he is opposed to the acquisition of any new territory unless slavery is first prohibited therein?

A. I am not generally opposed to honest acquisition of territory; and, in any given case, I would or would not oppose such acquisition, accordingly as I might think such acquisition would or would not aggravate the slavery question among ourselves.

Before answering these questions, Mr. Lincoln notified Mr. Douglas that he should insist upon the right to propound an equal number to him, if he desired to do so, and before closing submitted these four interrogatories:

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

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

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

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

To these questions he received, as he undoubtedly expected, only evasive replies. He also, in the course of the debate, pressed home upon his opponent a charge of quoting resolutions as having been adopted at a Republican State Convention which were never so adopted, and again called Douglas's attention to the conspiracy to nationalize slavery, and showed that his pretended desire to leave the people of a Territory free to establish slavery or exclude it, was really only a desire to allow them to establish it, as was shown by his voting against Mr. Chase's amendment to the Nebraska bill, which gave the leave to exclude it.

In the third debate, which took place at Jonesboro, Mr. Lincoln showed that Douglas and his friends were trying to change the position of the country on the slavery question from what it was when the Constitution was adopted, and that the disturbance of the country had arisen from this pernicious effort. He then cited from Democratic speeches and platforms of former days to prove that they occupied then the very opposite ground on the question from that which was taken at the time he was speaking. He also brought out in strong relief the evasive character of Douglas's answers to the questions which he had proposed, especially the subterfuge of "unfriendly legislation," which he had set forth as the means by which the people of a Territory could exclude slavery from its limits in spite of the Dred Scott decision.

It is a noteworthy fact that when Mr. Lincoln was preparing these questions for Douglas, he was urged by some of his friends not to corner him on this last point, because he would surely stand by his doctrine of Squatter Sovereignty in defiance of the Dred Scott decision, "and that," said they, "will make him Senator." "That may be," said Mr. Lincoln, with a twinkle in his eye, " but if he takes that shoot he never can be President."

Mr. Lincoln' s sagacity did not fail him here. This position which Douglas took of "unfriendly legislation," was a stumbling-block which he was never able to get over; and if the contest between them had brought out no other good result, the compelling Douglas to take this ground was a most important point gained.

In the fourth joint debate at Charleston, Mr. Lincoln brought forward and spoke at length upon the evidence of a charge previously made by Judge Trumbull against Douglas, of being himself reponsible for a clause in the Kansas bill which would have deprived the people of Kansas of the right to vote upon their own Constitution.

He stated this point as follows:

The bill that went into his (Mr. Douglas's) hands had the provision in it for a submission of the Constitution to the people; and I say its language amounts to an express provision for a submission, and that he took the provision out. He says it was known that the bill was silent in this particular; but I say, Judge Douglas, it was not silent when you got it. It was vocal with the declaration, when you got it, for a submission of the Constitution to the people. And now, my direct question to Judge Douglas is, to answer why, if he deemed the bill silent on this point, he found it necessary to strike out those particular harmless words. If he had found the bill silent and without this provision, he might say what he does now. If he supposes it was implied that the Constitution would be submitted to a vote of the people, how could these two lines so encumber the statute as to make it necessary to strike them out? How could he infer that a submission was still implied, after its express provision had been stricken from the bill? I find the bill vocal with the provision, while he silenced it. lie took it out, and although he took out the other provision preventing a submission to a vote of the people, I ask, why did you first put it in? I ask him whether he took the original provision out, which Trumbull alleges was in the bill? If he admits that he did take it out, I ask him what he did it for? It looks to us as if he had altered the bill. If it looks differently to him if he has a different reason for his action from the one we assign him he can tell it. I insist upon knowing why he made the bill silent upon that point, when it was vocal before he put his hands upon it.

Mr. Douglas, it is needless to say, could not parry this home thrust. In his efforts to do so (for Mr. Lincoln gave him several opportunities subsequently to explain his position), he invariably lost his temper.

In view of the discussions now in progress in many parts of the country, the following passage from Mr. Lincoln's final rejoinder to Mr. Douglas, in this debate at Charleston, possesses peculiar interest.

Judge Douglas has said to you that he has not been able to get from me an answer to the question whether I am in favor of negro citizenship. So far as I know, the Judge never asked me the question before. He shall have no occasion to ever ask it again, for I tell him very frankly that I am not in favor of negro citizenship. This furnishes me an occasion for saying a few words upon the subject. I mentioned in a certain speech of mine which has been printed, that the Supreme Court had decided that a negro could not possibly be made a citizen; and without saying what was my ground of complaint in regard to that, or whether I had any ground of complaint, Judge Douglas has from that thing manufactured nearly every thing that he ever says about my disposition to produce an equality between the negroes and the white people. If any one will read my speech, he will find I mentioned that as one of the points decided in the course of the Supreme Court opinions, but I did not state what objection I had to it. But Judge Douglas tells the people what my objection was, when I did not tell them myself. Now my opinion is that the different States have the power to make a negro a citizen under the Constitution of the United States, if they choose. The Dred Scott decision decides that they have not that power. If the State of Illinois had that power I should be opposed to the exercise of it. That is all I have to say about it.

In the fifth joint debate, that at Galesburg, Mr. Lincoln defended the Republican party from the charge of being sectional, and in the course of his speech he thus pointedly sketched the difference between the supporters of Mr. Douglas and their opponents, as regarded the manner in which they respectively looked upon the free and slave States:

The Judge tells, in proceeding, that he is opposed to making any odious distinctions between free and slave States. I am altogether unaware that the Republicans are in favor of making any odious distinctions between the free and slave States. But there still is a difference, I think, between Judge Douglas and the Republicans in this. I suppose that the real difference between Judge Douglas and his friends, and the Republicans on the contrary, is, that the Judge is not in favor of making any difference between slavery and liberty that he is in favor of eradicating, of pressing out of view, the questions of preference in this country for free or slave institutions; and consequently every sentiment he utters discards the idea that there is any wrong in slavery. Every thing that emanates from him or his coadjutors in their course of policy, carefully excludes the thought that there is any thing wrong in slavery. All their arguments, if you will consider them, will be seen to exclude the thought that there is any thing whatever wrong in slavery. If you will take the Judge's speeches, and select the short and pointed sentences expressed by him as his declaration that he "don't care whether slavery is voted up or down" you will see at once that this is perfectly logical, if you do not admit that slavery is wrong. If you do admit that it is wrong, Judge Douglas cannot logically say he don't care whether a wrong is voted up or voted down. Judge Douglas declares that if any community want slavery they have a right to have it. He can say that logically, if he says that there is no wrong in slavery; but if you admit that there is a wrong in it, he cannot logically say that anybody has a right to do wrong. He insists that, upon the score of equality, the owners of slaves and the owners of property of horses and every other sort of property should he alike, and hold them alike in a new Territory. That is perfectly logical, if the two species of property are alike, and are equally founded in right. But if you admit that one of them is wrong, you cannot institute any equality between right and wrong. And from this difference of sentiment the belief on the part of one that the institution is wrong, and a policy springing from that belief which looks to the arrest of the enlargement of that wrong; and this other sentiment, that it is no wrong, and a policy sprung from that sentiment which will tolerate no idea of preventing that wrong from growing larger, and looks to there never being an end of it through all the existence of things arises the real difference between Judge Douglas and his friends on the one hand, and the Republicans on the other. Now, I confess myself as belonging to that class in the country who contemplate slavery as a moral, social, and political evil, having due regard for its actual existence amongst us, and the difficulties of getting rid of it in any satisfactory way, and to all the Constitutional obligations which have been thrown about it; but, nevertheless, desire a policy that looks to the prevention of it as a wrong, and looks hopefully to the time when, as a wrong, it may come to an end.

Mr. Lincoln also, after again calling attention to the fraudulent resolutions, and giving strong proof that Douglas himself was a party to the imposition, showed that he had failed to answer his question about the acceptance of the new Dred Scott decision, which, he said, was "just as sure to "be made as to-morrow is to come, if the Democratic party shall "be sustained" in the elections. He then discussed the policy of acquiring more territory, and the importance of deciding upon any such acquisition, by the effect which it would have upon the Slavery question among ourselves.

In the next debate, at Quincy, besides making some personal points as to the mode in which Douglas had conducted the previous discussions, he stated clearly and briefly what were the principles of the Republican party, what they proposed to do, and what they did not propose to do.

This exposition is at once so lucid and succinct that we give the passage at length. Mr. Lincoln alluded to the assertion made by Judge Douglas at Galesburg, that he (Mr. Lincoln) desired to avoid the responsibility attaching to the " enormity" of the principles he advocated, and said that he would heartily state those principles, as well as it was in his power to do, "in all their enormity," which he did as follows:

"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 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 a wrong we think it is a moral, a social, and a political wrong. We think it is 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 any thing 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 subject.

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.

Mr. Douglas replied to Mr. Lincoln in a manner which proved that he felt the arguments which his antagonist had advanced to be actually unanswerable, and in opening his rejoinder Mr. Lincoln used this language:

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 graceful 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 ho and his friends could not lot 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 on 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.

The seventh and last joint debate took place at Alton, October 15. According to the schedule previously agreed upon, Mr. Douglas had the opening speech. Mr. Lincoln, in his rejoinder, made a thorough and exhaustive review of the slavery question in its relations to the Democratic party. He showed that the doctrines of that party, with reference to this question, were not those held at the time of the Revolution; traced the development of the agitation which had resulted from the efforts of the Democracy to put slavery upon a different footing, and sketched the dangers and difficulties in which this attempt had involved the country. He thus expressed his opinion of the way in which this agitation might be terminated:

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 placed 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 ultimate extinction?

Mr. Lincoln then demonstrated that the whole controversy turned upon the vital question whether slavery w r as wrong or not, and proved that the sentiment of the Democratic party, as it then existed, was that it was not wrong, and that Douglas and those who sympathized with him did not desire or ever expect to see the country freed from this gigantic evil. Upon this point he said:

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 as 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, as being wrong. 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 any thing 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 any thing about it in the free States, because it is not here. You must not say any thing about it in the slave States, because it is there. You must not say any thing about it in the pulpit, because that is religion, and has nothing to do with it. You must not say any thing 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 into 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 arguments made in favor of the system you have proposed, and it carefully excludes the idea that there is any thing wrong in the institution of slavery. The arguments to sustain that policy carefully excluded 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.

Besides the speeches made in the course of these seven joint debates, Mr. Lincoln delivered at least fifty other addresses to the people, in all parts of the State, during the canvass, everywhere expounding his views and declaring his sentiments with the same frankness and manliness. The chief interest of the contest, however, centred in their joint debates, and with every succeeding encounter the feeling in the State, and throughout the country, became more intense. As the day for final decision approached, Illinois fairly blazed with the excitement. While Mr. Douglas fully sustained his previous reputation, and justified the estimate his friends had placed upon his abilities, he labored under the comparative disadvantage of being much better known to the country at large than was his antagonist. During his long public career, people had become partially accustomed to his manner of presenting arguments and enforcing them. The novelty and freshness of Mr. Lincoln's addresses, on the other hand, the homeliness and force of his illustrations, their wonderful pertinence, his exhaustless humor, his confidence in his own resources, engendered by his firm belief in the justice of the cause he so ably advocated, never once rising, however, to the point of arrogance or superciliousness, fastened upon him the eyes of the people everywhere, friends and opponents alike. It was not strange that more than once, during the course of the unparalleled excitement which marked this canvass, Mr. Douglas should have been thrown off his guard by the singular self-possession displayed by his antagonist, and by the imperturbable firmness with which he maintained and defended a position once assumed. The unassuming confidence which marked Mr. Lincoln's conduct was early imparted to his supporters, and each succeeding encounter added largely to the number of his friends, until they began to indulge the hope that a triumph might be secured in spite of the adverse circumstances under which the struggle was commenced. And so it would have been, had party lines been more strictly drawn. But the action of Mr. Douglas with reference to the Lecompton Constitution when it was before the United States Senate, and the bitter hostility of the southern wing of the Democratic party to wards him, had led very many Republicans, and some of high consideration and influence in other States, to favor his return to the Senate. They deemed this due to the zeal and efficiency with which he had resisted the attempt to force slavery into Kansas against the will of the people, and as important in encouraging other Democratic leaders to imitate the example of Douglas in throwing off the yoke of the slaveholding aristocracy. This feeling proved to be of much weight against Mr. Lincoln in the canvass.

In the election which took place on November 2d, the popular vote stood as follows:


Douglas Democrat.................................................................121,940

Lecompton Democrat................................................................5,091

Mr. Lincoln, therefore, had the people been permitted to decide the question directly, would have been returned to the Senate, since he had a plurality of four thousand one hundred and forty-four votes over Mr. Douglas; but the State legislature was the tribunal that was to pass finally upon it; and there, fortunately for the country, as the future showed, but unfortunately for Mr. Lincoln at that time, the Democrats had secured an advantage, by means of an unfair districting of the State, which it was impossible to overcome. Notwithstanding the immense gains made by the Republicans, their opponents had, in the upper branch of this body, fourteen members to their eleven, while in the lower House these two parties stood forty Democrats to thirty-five Republicans. This state of affairs secured Mr. Douglas a re-election, although the fact that he was fairly beaten on the popular vote, robbed his triumph of much of its lustre. An overruling Providence, the workings of which can now be clearly traced, but which were then inscrutable, by securing this result, ultimately gave the nation for its chief magistrate the man best fitted to carry it safely through the most trying period of its history.  


Book Navigation Title Page Preface Illustrations Memorandum Table of Contents   ► Chapter I.   ► Chapter II.   ► Chapter III.   ► Chapter IV.   ► Chapter V.   ► Chapter VI.   ► Chapter VII.   ► Chapter VIII.   ► Chapter IX.   ► Chapter X.   ► Chapter XI.   ► Chapter XII.   ► Chapter XIII.   ► Chapter XIV.   ► Chapter XV.   ► Chapter XVI.   ► Chapter XVII.   ► Chapter XVIII.   ► Chapter XIX.   ► Chapter XX.   ► Chapter XXI. Anecdotes and Reminiscences of President Lincoln.   ► Mr. Lincoln's Sadness   ► His Favorite Poem   ► His Religious Experience   ► His Sympathy   ► His Humor, Shrewdness, and Sentiment   ► The Emancipation Proclamation Appendix. Letters on Sundry Occasions.   ► To Mr. Lodges, of Kentucky   ► To General Hooker   ► To John B. Fry   ► To Governor Magoffin   ► To Count Gasparin   ► The President and General McClellan   ► Warnings Against Assassination Reports, Dispatches, and Proclamations Relating to the Assassination.   ► Secretary Stanton to General Dix   ► The Death-Bed   ► The Assassins   ► Reward Offered by Secretary Stanton   ► Flight of the Assassins   ► The Conspiracy Organized in Canada   ► Booth Killed. Harold Captured   ► Reward Offered by President Johnson   ► The Funeral Official Announcements   ► Acting Secretary Hunger to Minister Adams   ► Acting Secretary Hunter to his Subordinates   ► Orders from Secretary Stanton and General Grant   ► Orders from Secretary "Welles   ► Order from Secretary McCulloch   ► Order from Postmaster-General Dennison   ► Proclamation by President Johnson of a Day of Humiliation and Mourning.   ► Secretary Stanton to Minister Adams   ► Important Letter from J. Wilkes Booth   ► Indictment of the Conspirators   ► The Finding of the Court