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them any legislation for the reclaiming of their fugitives, which should not, in its stringency, be more likely to carry a free man into slavery, than our ordinary criminal laws are to hang an inno
But all this, to my judgment, furnishes no more excuse for permitting slavery to go into our own free territory, than it would for reviving the African slave-trade by law. The law which forbids the bringing of slaves from Africa, and that which has so long forbid the taking of them to Nebraska, can hardly be distinguished on any moral principle; and the repeal of the former could find quite as plausible excuses as that of the latter.
In October of the same year, a mass convention of the anti-Nebraska men was held at Springfield. The following resolutions were there adopted. The platform adopted was more radical than the sentiments then and since avowed by Mr. Lincoln,
1. Resolved, That we believe this truth to be self-evident, that when parties become subversive of the ends for which they are established, or incapable of restoring the Government to the true principles of the Constitution, it is the right and duty of the people to dissolve the political bands by which they may have been connected therewith, and to organize new parties upon such principles and with such views as the circumstances and exigencies of the nation may demand.
2. Resolved, That the times imperatively demand the reorganization of parties, and, repudiating all previous party attachments, names, and predilections, we unite ourselves together in defence of the liberty and Constitution of the country, and will hereafter cooperate as the Republican party, pledged to the accomplishment of the following purposes: To bring the administration of the Government back to the control of first principles; to restore Nebraska and Kansas to the position of free territories; that as the Constitution of the United States vests in the States, and not in Congress, the power to legislate for the extradition of fugitives from labor, to repeal and entirely abrogate the Fugitive Slave Law; to restrict slavery to those States in which it exists; to prohibit the admission of any more slave States into the Union; to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia; to exclude slavery from all the territories over which the General Government has exclusive jurisdiction; and
to resist the acquirements of any more territories unless the practice of slavery therein forever shall have been prohibited.
3. Resolved, that in furtherance of these principles we will use such constitutional and lawful means as shall seem best adapted to their accomplishment, and that we will support no man for office, under the General or State Government, who is not positively and fully committed to the support of these principles, and whose personal character and conduct is not a guaranty that he is reliable, and who shall not have abjured old party allegiance and ties.
In 1855, Mr. Lincoln was again a candidate before the legislature for the United States senatorship, but was unsuccessful, Judge Trumbull being elected to the position he has since so ably filled.
The Republican party being fully organized with the gallant Fremont as its candidate for the Presidency, Mr. Lincoln was placed at the head of the State Electoral Ticket. He canvassed the State during that exciting campaign.
Nomination as Senator at Springfield - Speech of Acceptance- Challenge to Douglas - Correspondence.
THE Republican State Convention of Illinois, that met at Springfield, June 17, 1858, placed in nomination Abraham Lincoln as its candidate for the United States senatorship, soon to be vacated by the expiration of Judge Douglas's term. The latter came fresh from his celebrated Lecompton struggle, to fight both the Republican candidate and the friends of the administration. The strife was indeed an arduous one, and won the admiration of the "Little Giant's" most determined foes.
In accepting this nomination, tendered him by the Convention, Mr. Lincoln gives expression to the principles which he conceived should govern the coming canvass. He also analyzes the position of Senator Douglas and of both wings of the Democratic party. The speech will be found terse, logical, and vigorous. It reviews the position of the two branches of the Democracy, and exposes in a scathing manner the false premises and weaker deductions of his opponent. He commenced by enunciating, in the broadest manner
THE IRREPRESSIBLE CONFLICT.
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.
THE DRED SCOTT DECISION · -ITS HISTORY.
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 be 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 therefrom; 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 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 U. S. 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 reargument. 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