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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 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 slavetrade, by which slaves are supplied, might be cut off by Congress? ? Why were all these acts? I might enumerate more of these acts, - but enough. What were they but a clear indication that the framers of the Constitution intended and expected the ultimate extinction of that institution? And now, when I say, as I said in my speech that Judge Douglas has quoted from, when I say that I think the opponents of slavery will resist the farther spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest with the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction, I only mean to say, that they will place it where the founders of this Government originally placed it.
I have said a hundred times, and I have now no inclination to take it back, that I believe there is no right, and ought to be no inclination in the people of the free States to enter into the slave States, and interfere with the question of slavery at all. I have said that always; Judge Douglas has heard me say it, if not quite a hundred times, at least as good as a hundred times; and when it is said that I am in favor of interfering with slavery where it exists, I know it is unwarranted by anything I have ever intended, and, as I believe, by anything I have ever said. If, by any means, I have ever used language which could fairly be so construed, (as, however, I believe I never have,) I now correct it.
So much, then, for the inference that Judge Douglas draws, that I am in favor of setting the sections at war with one
another. I know that I never meant any such thing, and I believe that no fair mind can infer any such thing from anything I have ever said.
LINCOLN ON CENTRALIZATION.
Now in relation to his inference that I am in favor of a general consolidation of all the local institutions of the various States. I will attend to that for a little while, and try to inquire, if I can, how on earth it could be that any man could draw such an inference from anything I said. I have said, very many times, in Judge Douglas's hearing, that no man believed more than I in the principle of self-government; that it lies at the bottom of all my ideas of just government, from beginning to end. I have denied that his use of that term applies properly. But for the thing itself, I deny that any man has ever gone ahead of me in his devotion to the principle, whatever he may have done in efficiency in advocating it. I think that I have said it in your hearing, that I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruit of his labor, so far as it in no wise interferes with any other man's rights, that each community, as a State, has a right to do exactly as it pleases with all the concerns within that State that interferes with the right of no other State, and that the General Government, upon principle, has no right to interfere with anything other than that general class of things that does concern the whole. I have said that at all times. have said as illustrations, that I do not believe in the right of Illinois to interfere with the cranberry laws of Indiana, the oyster laws of Virginia, or the liquor laws of Maine. I have said these things over and over again, and I repeat them here as my sentiments.
How is it, then, that Judge Douglas infers, because I hope to see slavery put where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, that I am in favor of Illinois going over and interfering with the cranberry laws of Indiana? What can authorize him to draw any such infer
as something on a par pasture his land with cat
ence? I suppose there might be one thing that at least enabled him to draw such an inference that would not be true with me or many others, that is, because he looks upon all this matter of slavery as an exceedingly little thing, this matter of keeping one sixth of the population of the whole nation in a state of oppression and tyranny unequalled in the world. looks upon it as being an exceedingly little thing, only equal to the question of the cranberry laws of Indiana, -as something having no moral question in it, with the question of whether a man shall tle, or plant it with tobacco, so little and so small a thing, that he concludes, if I could desire that if anything should be done to bring about the ultimate extinction of that little thing, I must be in favor of bringing about an amalgamation of all the other little things in the Union. Now, it so happens, and there, I presume, is the foundation of this mistake, that the Judge thinks thus; and it so happens that there is a vast portion of the American people that do not look upon that matter as being this very little thing. They look upon it as a vast moral evil; they can prove it as such by the writings of those who gave us the blessings of liberty which we enjoy, and that they so looked upon it, and not as an evil merely confining itself to the States where it is situated; and while we agree that, by the Constitution we assented to, in the States where it exists we have no right to interfere with it, because it is in the Constitu tion; and we are by both duty and inclination to stick by that Constitution, in all its letter and spirit, from beginning to end.
So much, then, as to my disposition, my wish, to have all the State legislatures blotted out, and to have one consolidated government, and a uniformity of domestic regulations in all the States, by which, I suppose, it is meant, if we raise corn here, we must make sugar-cane grow here too, and we must make those which grow North grow in the South. All this, I suppose, he understands I am in favor of doing. for all this nonsense, for I must call it so.
Now, so much
The Judge can
have no issue with me on a question of establishing uniformity n the domestic regulations of the States.
THE DRED SCOTT DECISION, AND ITS VALUE.
A little now on the other point, the Dred Scott decision. Another of the issues, he says, that is to be made with me, is upon his devotion to the Dred Scott decision, and my opposition to it.
I have expressed heretofore, and I now repeat, my opposition to the Dred Scott decision, but I should be allowed to state the nature of that opposition, and I ask your indulgence while I do SO. What is fairly implied by the term Judge Douglas has used, "Resistance to the decision?" I do not resist it. If I wanted to take Dred Scott from his master, I would be interfering with property, and that terrible difficulty that Judge Douglas speaks of, of interfering with property, would arise. But I am doing no such thing as that, but all that I am doing is refusing to obey it as a political rule. If I were in Congress, and a vote should come up on a question whether slavery should be prohibited in a new territory, in spite of the Dred Scott decision, I would vote that it should.
That is what I would do. Judge Douglas said, last night, that, before the decision, he might advance his opinion, and it might be contrary to the decision when it was made; but, after it was made, he would abide by it until it was reversed. Just so ! We let this property abide by the decision, but we will try to reverse that decision. We will try to put it where Judge Douglas would not object, for he says he will obey it until it is reversed. Somebody has to reverse that decision, since it is made, and we mean to reverse it, and we mean to do it peaceably.
What are the uses of decisions of courts? They have two uses. As rules of property, they have two uses. First, they decide upon the question before the court. They decide, in this case, that Dred Scott is a slave. Nobody resists that Not only that, but they say to everybody else that person: standing just as Dred Scott stands is as he is. That is, they say that, when a question comes up upon another person, i
will be so decided again, unless the court decides in another way, unless the court overrules its decision. Well, we mean to do what we can to have the court decide the other way. That is one thing we mean to try to do.
66 RESISTANCE TO THE SUPREME COURT.”
The sacredness that Judge Douglas throws around this decision, is a degree of sacredness that has never been before thrown around any other decision. I have never heard of such a thing. Why, decisions apparently contrary to that decision, or that good lawyers thought were contrary to that decision, have been made by that very court before. It is the first of its kind; it is an astonisher in legal history. It is a new wonder of the world. It is based upon falschood, in the main, as to the facts; allegations of facts upon which it stands are not facts at all, in many instances, and no decision made on any question, the first instance of a decision made under so many unfavorable circumstances, thus placed, has ever been held by the profession as law, and it has always needed confirmation before the lawyers regarded it as settled law. But Judge Douglas will have it that all hands must take this extraordinary decision, made under these extraordinary circumstances, and give their vote in Congress in accordance with it, yield to it, and obey it, n every possible sense. Circumstances alter cases. Do not gentlemen here remember the case of that same Supreme Court, ome twenty-five or thirty years ago, deciding that a National Bank was constitutional? I ask, if somebody does not rememer that a National Bank was declared to be constitutional? uch is the truth, whether it be remembered or not. The bank harter ran out, and a recharter was granted by Congress. That charter was laid before General Jackson. It was urged upon m, when he denied the constitutionality of the bank, that the upreme Court had decided that it was constitutional; and that eneral Jackson then said that the Supreme Court had no right lay down a rule to govern a coördinate branch of the governent, the members of which had sworn to support the Constitu