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4 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, else 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—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."
The next point touched upon was Judge Douglas' charge that Mr. Lincoln was in favor of reducing the institutions of all the states to uniformity:
“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 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 governinent, 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 effic cy 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. I 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 inférence? 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 unequaled in the world. He 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-as something on a par with the question of whether a man shall pasture his land with cattle, 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 such by the writings of those who gave us the blessings of liberty which we enjoy, and that they so looked upon it, 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 Constitution; 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. Now, so much for all this nonsense—for I must call it so. The Judge can have no issue with me on a question of establishing uniformity in the domestic regulations of the states.”
Concerning the Dred Scott decision he said:
“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 persons standing just as Dred Scott stands, is as he is. That is, they say that when a question comes up upon another person, it 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.
“ 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 falsehood 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 in every possible sense. Circumstances alter
Do not gentlemen here remember the case of that same Supreme Court, some twenty-five or thirty years ago, deciding that a national bank was constitutional ? I ask, if somebody does not remember that a national bank was declared to be constitutional? Such is the truth, whether it be remembered or not. The bank charter ran out, and a re-charter was granted by Congress. That re-charter was laid before General Jackson. It was urged upon him, when he denied the constitutionality of the bank that the Supreme Court had decided it was constitutional; and General Jackson then said that the Supreme Court had no right to lay down a rule to govern a co-ordinate branch of the Government, the members of which had sworn to support the Constitution that each member had sworn to support that Constitution as he understood it. I will venture here to say, that I have heard Judge Douglas say that he approved of General Jackson for that act. What has now become of all his tirade about resistance to the Su
preme Court ?»»
There were some passages in this speech which illustrated Mr. Lincoln's readiness in “putting things” to the common apprehension. After having said that the much vaunted “popular sovereignty” which Mr. Douglas had put forth as his own invention was something which, when properly defined, the republicans had always accepted and acted upon, and that it came, not from Judge Douglas, but from the Declaration of Independence, which states that governments derive their just powers “from the consent of the governed,” he alluded to the defeat of the Lecompton Constitution in Congress. He said that the republicans took ground against the Lecompton Constitution long before Judge Douglas did, and that he held in his hand a speech in which he urged the
same reason against Douglas the year before that he (Douglas) was urging now. He went on:
“ A little more, now, as to this matter of popular sovereignty and the Lecompton Constitution. The Lecoinpton Constitution, as the Judge tells us, was defeated. The defeat of it was a good thing, or it was not. He thinks the defeat of it was a good thing, and so do I, and we agree in that. IVho defeated it?
" A voice—Judge Douglas.'
“ Mr. Lincoln-Yes, he furnished himself, and, if you suppose he furnished the other democrats that went with him, he furnished three votes, while the republicans furnished twenty. That is what he did to defeat it. In the House of Representatives he and his friends furnished some twenty votes and the republicans ninety odd. Now who was it that did the work ?
"A voice— Douglas.'
“Mr. Lincoln-Why, yes, Douglas did it. To be sure he did. Let us, however, put that proposition another way. The republicans could not have done it without Judge Douglas. Could he have done it without them? Which could have come the nearest to doing it without the other?"
The following point was so neatly made that it drew from the house three hearty cheers:
“We were often-more than once at least-in the course of Judge Douglas' speech last night, reminded that this government was made for white men that he believed it was made for white men. Well, that is putting it into a shape in which no one wants to deny it; but the Judge then goes into his passion for drawing inferences that are not warranted. I protest, now and forever, against that counterfeit logic which presumes that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave, I do necessarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that I need not have her for either, but, as God made us separate, we can leave one another alone, and do one another much good thereby. There are white men enough to marry all the white women, and enough black men to marry all the black women, and in God's name let them be so married. The Judge regales us with the terrible enormities that take place by the mixture of races; that the inferior race bears the superior down. Why, Judge, if we do not let them get together in the territories they won't mix there.”
And thus was opened the grand senatorial campaign of 1858. Mr. Douglas had not been present at Mr. Lincoln's