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in onger ction.
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 next speech. ... 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. ... I have said a hundred times, and I have 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 to interfere with the question of slavery at all. I have said that always. ...
A little now on the other point — the Dred Scott decision. ... What is fairly implied by the term Judge Douglas has used, “resistance to the decision”? I do not resist it. If I wanted to take Dred Scott from his master, I would be interfering with property. I am doing no such thing as that, but all that I am doing is refusing to obey it as a political rule. If I were in Congress, and a vote should come up on a question whether slavery should be prohibited in a new territory, in spite of the Dred Scott decision, I would vote · that it should.... We let this property abide by the decision, but we will try to reverse that decision. We will try to put it where Judge Douglas will not object, for he says he will obey it until it is reversed. Somebody has to reverse that decision, since it was made, and we mean to reverse it, and we mean to do it peaceably.
After commenting on Douglas's view of the Declaration of Independence — substantially as at Springfield the previous year -- Lincoln continued:
My friend has said to me that I am a poor hand to quote Scripture. I will try it again, however. It is said in one of the admonitions of our Lord: “As your Father in heaven is perfect, be ye also perfect." The Savior, I suppose, did not expect that any human creature could be perfect as the Father in heaven, but he said: “As your Father in heaven is perfect, be ye also perfect.” He set that up as a standard, and he who did most toward reaching that standard attained
the highest degree of moral perfection. So I say in relation to the principle that all men are created equal, let it be as nearly reached as we can. If we can not give freedom to every creature, let us do nothing to impose slavery upon any other creature. Let us, then, turn this Government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it. . . . Turning in the contrary direction that our friend Judge Douglas proposes — not intentionally — ... tends to make this one universal slave nation. He is one that runs in that direction, and as such I resist him.
The two Chicago speeches and that of Lincoln at Springfield in June present the chief subjects of the campaign. Douglas could not, of course, neglect to appear early at the State capital, and on his way thither he spoke at Bloomington, and was again listened to by his competitor. The Senator's speech at Springfield on the 17th had much resemblance to his “key-note" at Chicago. Lincoln also spoke there on the same day, at night, without having heard Douglas in the afternoon. His opening remarks pointed out some of the unequal conditions of the contest:
.... In the first place, we have a Legislature to elect upon an apportionment of the representation made several years ago, when the proportion of the population was far greater in the south, as compared with the north, than it now is; and inasmuch as our opponents hold almost entire sway in the south, and we a correspondingly large majority in the north, the fact that we are now to be represented as · we were years ago, when the population was different, is to : me a very great disadvantage. ...
Proceeding to the methods and plans of his competitor, he said:
After Senator Douglas left Washington, as his movements were made known by the public prints, he tarried a
considerable time in the city of New York; and it was heralded that, like another Napoleon, he was lying by and framing the plan of his campaign. ... What I shall point out, though not showing the whole plan, are, nevertheless, the main points, as I suppose. They are not very numerous. The first is Popular Sovereignty. The second and third are attacks upon my speech made on the 16th of June. ... Upon these his successive speeches are substantially one and the same. ... Auxiliary to these main points, to be sure, are their thunderings of cannon, their marching and music, their fizzle-gigs and fireworks; but I will not waste time with them. They are but the little trappings of the campaign. ...
Judge Douglas said, at Bloomington, that I used language most able and ingenious for concealing what I really meant; and that, while I had protested against entering into the slave States, I nevertheless did mean to go on the banks of the Ohio and throw missiles into Kentucky, to disturb the people there in their domestic institutions. I said in that speech, and I meant no more, that the institution of slavery ought to be placed in the very attitude where the framers of this Government placed it, and left it. I do not understand that the framers of our Constitution left the people of the free States in the attitude of firing bombs or shells into the slave States. ...
Mr. Brooks, of South Carolina, in one of his speeches, when they were presenting him canes, silver plate, gold pitchers and the like, for assaulting Senator Sumner, distinctly affirmed his opinion that when this Constitution was formed, it was the belief of no man that slavery would last to the present day. He said, what I think, that the framers of our Constitution placed the institution of slavery where the public mind rested in the hope that it was in the course of ultimate extinction. But he went on to say that the men of the present age, by their experience, have become wiser than the framers of the Constitution; and the invention of the cotton-gin had made the perpetuity of slavery a necessity in this country.
Recurring to the Dred Scott case, he cited Jefferson's views on judicial decisions, alluded to the course
slave states in the of our it, and attitude winstitutionsaid in the
of the Democratic party and of Douglas personally, in regard to the National Bank decision, and concluded:
Judge Douglas is for Supreme Court decisions when he likes, and against them when he does not like them. He is for the Dred Scott decision because it tends to nationalize slavery — because it is a part of the original combination for that object. It so happened, singularly enough, that I never stood opposed to a decision of the Supreme Court till this. On the contrary, I have no recollection that he was ever particularly in favor of one till this. He never was in favor of any, nor I opposed to any, till the present one, which helps to nationalize slavery. Free men of Sangamon - free men of Illinois — free men everywhere - judge ye between him and me upon this issue.
It was not until the last of July that on Lincoln's challenge Douglas agreed to a series of joint meetings — one in each of the seven Congressional districts in which they had not yet spoken during the present canvass.
It may be presumed that many of Lincoln's friends, who knew the skill and ability of Douglas in debate especially, regarded the challenge as a bold, if not a rash one. The two were unlike in their methods. As his opponent said of him, Lincoln was “conscientious," and his candor seemed at times to place him at a disadvantage with a wily antagonist; nor had he the practical readiness in face-to-face discussion, for which the other was distinguished. Lincoln was not alone in thinking the Senator a somewhat unscrupulous opponent in a pressing emergency. Often overbearing in his manner, conscious of the superior position his better fortune in politics had gained for him, and impressed now with a lively sense of the consequences of defeat, he would certainly spare no available resource in this contest. But he had shown no alacrity in consenting to a joint canvass, even the partial one granted; nor did he think Lincoln's challenge mere “banter," as at one of their later meetings, when in a rather exasperated mood, he seemed to insinuate. He knew Lincoln better than some other politicians did, and though not lacking in self-confidence, was possibly not quite sure that anything would be gained on his part by accepting the challenge.