« PreviousContinue »
Speech at the Cooper Institute.
False reasoning of the Slare Puwer.
withdraw the mistaken statement, and reconsider the conclu. sion based upon it?
“And then it is to be remembered that our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live'-the men who made the Constitution-decided this same Constitutional question in our favor, long ago-decided it without a division among themselves, when making the decision ; without divi. sion among themselves about the meaning of it after it was made, and so far as any evidence is left, without basing it upon any mistaken statement of facts.
“ Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this Government, unless such a court decision as yours is shall be at once submitted to, as a conclusive and final rule of political action. But
you will not abide the election of a Republican President. In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us !
“ That is cool. A bighwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, 'stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer !!
“To be sure, what the robber demanded of me—my money -was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and threat of death to me, to extort my money, and threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.
"A few words now to Republicans. It is exceedingly desirable that all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at peace, and in harmony, one with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill-temper. Even though the southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them it, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can.
Speech at the Cooper Institute.
Invasion and Insurrections.
Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and nature of their controversy with us, let us determine, if we can, what will satisfy them ?
“Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them if, in the future, we have nothing to do with invasions and insurrections? We know it will not. We so know because we know we never had any thing to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the denunciation.
“ The question recurs, what will satisfy them ? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must, somebow, convince them that we do let them alone. This we know by experience, is no easy task. We bave been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.
“ These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only : cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly-done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated—we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Douglas's new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free-State Constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles procend from us.
Speech at the Cooper Institute.
The Whole Controversy.
in this way.
“I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely
Most of them would probably say to us, “Let us alone, do nothing to us, and say what you please about slavery.' But we do let them alone-have never disturbed them-so that, after all, it is what we say wbich dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us of doing, until we cease saying
“I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms, demanded the overthrow of our Free-State Constitutions. Yet those Constitutions declare the wrong of slavery, with more solemn emphasis than do all other sayings against it; and when all these other sayings shall have been silenced, the overthrow of these Constitutions will be demanded, and nothing be left to resist the demand. It is nothing to the contrary, that they do not demand the whole of this just now. Demanding what they do, and for the reason they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this consummation. Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a legal right and a social blessing.
“ Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality-its universality ; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension-its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them ? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this?
Speech at the Cooper Institute.
Right makes Might.
Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States ?
“ If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored-contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man—such as a policy of 'dont care' on a question about which all true men do care—such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the Divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance—such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo wbat Washington did.
“Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, not frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”
It was during this visit to New York that the following incident occurred, as related by a teacher in the Five-Points House of Industry, in that city :
“Our Sunday-school in the Five-Points was assembled, one Sabbath morning, a few months since, when I noticed a tall and remarkable-looking man enter the room and take a seat among us. He listened with fixed attention to our exercises, and his countenance manifested such genuine interest that I approached him and suggested that he might be willing to say something to the children. He accepted the invita
tion with evident pleasure, and, coming forward, began a simple address, which at once fascinated every little hearer, and hushed the room into silence. His language was strikingly beautiful, and his tones musical with intensest feeling. The little faces around would droop into sad conviction as he uttered sentences of warning, and would brighten into sunshine as he spoke cheerful words of promise. Once or twice he attempted to close bis remarks, but the imperative shout of 'Go on ! Ob, do go on l' would compel him to resume. As I looked upon the gaunt and sinewy frame of the stranger, and marked bis powerful head and determined features, now touched into softness by the impressions of the moment, I felt an irrepressible curiosity to learn something more about him, and when he was quietly leaving the room I begged to know his name. He courteously replied, 'It is Abra’m Lincoln, from Illinois !”
NOMINATED AND ELECTED PRESIDENT.
The Republican National Convention-Democratic Convention-Constitutional Union
Convention-Ballotings at Chicago-The Result-Enthusiastic Reception-Visit to
On the 16th of May, 1860, the Republican National Convention met at Chicago, to present candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency. The Democratic Convention bad previously adjourned, after a stormy session of some two weeks, at which it was apparent that, if Mr. Douglas's friends persisted in placing him in nomination, another candidate would be presented by the wing opposed to his peculiar views