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Hammond, Hunter, Iverson, Kennedy, Mason, Trumbull and Wade. Democrats 6, Republicans 7, Americans 3. The bill then passed, yeas 35; nays 17; the nays being the same who voted to postpone, excepting Mr. Chandler, and with the addition of Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, and Mr. Henderson, of Texas, The House did not act on the bill until the next session, when the bill was passed, and Oregon was admitted.

At this point it may not be out of place to recapitulate the action of Mr. Douglas upon the subject of territorial bills, and the admission of new states. When a member of the house he was a warm supporter of the bills to establish a territorial government in Oregon. He found that measure unacted upon when he entered the Senate. He voted for it there when it passed. He, as a member of the house, supported the resolutions for the annexation of exas, and the bill for her admission into the Union. In the house he supported and voted for the bills admitting Iowa and Florida as states of the Union. On the latter bill he made one of his most forcible speeches on a proposal that Florida be required as a condition of her admission to abolish a provision in her Constitution limiting the authority for emancipating slaves. He denied the right or power of Congress to legislate upon the provisions of any constitution adopted by a state. He reported the several bills respecting the admission of Wisconsin, and voted for the admission of that state. He wrote the bills establishing the territorial governments of Utah, New Mexico, Washington, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska. He prepared the acts for the admission of California, Minnesota, and Oregon, into the Union as states.


Mr. Douglas has always been decided in his opposition to the revival of the African slave trade. He has been always as decided in his efforts to enforce the existing, and willing to provide additional laws if necessary against that traffic. When this matter was discussed some time ago, Mr. Douglas, in answer to a letter from a gentleman in Virginia, thus expressed his views :

WASHINGTON, August 2, 1859.
Col. John L. Peyton, Staunton, Va.:
MY DEAR SIR: You do me no more than justice in your kind letter, for
which accept my thanks, in assuming that I do not concur with the admin-

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istration in their views respecting the rights of naturalized citizens, as defined in the “ Le Clerc letter," which, it is proper to observe, has since been materially modified.

Under our Constitution there can be no just distinction between the rights of native born and naturalized citizens to claim the protection of our gov. ernment at home and abroad. Unless the naturalization releases the person naturalized from all obligations which he owed to his native country, by virtue of his allegiance, it leaves him in the sad predicament of owing allegiance to two countries, without receiving protection from either-a dilemma in which no American citizen should be placed.

Neither have you misapprehended my opinions in respect to the African slave trade. That question seriously disturbed the harmony of the Convention which framed the federal Constitution. Upon it the delegates divided into two parties, under circumstances which, for a time, rendered harmonious action hopeless. The one demanded the instant and unconditional prohibition of the African slave trade, on moral and religious grounds, while the other insisted that it was a legitimate commerce, involving no other consideration than a sound public policy, which each state ought to be permitted to determine for itself, so long as it was sanctioned by its own laws. Each party stood resolutely and firmly by its own position, until both became convinced that this vexed question would break up the Convention, destroy the federal Union, blot out the glories of the Revolution, and throw away all its blessings, unless some fair and just compromise could be formed on the common ground of such mutual concessions as were indispensable to the preservation of their liberties, Union, and independence.

Such a compromise was effected and incorporated into the Constitution, by which it was understood that the African slave trade might continue a legitimate commerce in those states whose laws sanctioned it until the year 1808, from and after which time Congress might and would prohibit it for ever, throughout the dominion and limits of the United States, and pass all laws which might become necessary to make such prohibition effectual. The harmony of the Convention was restored, and the Union saved by this compromise, without which the Constitution could never have been made.

I stand firmly by this compromise and by all the other compromises of the Constitution, and shall use my best efforts to carry each and all of them into faithful execution, in the sense and with the understanding in which they were originally adopted. In accordance with this compromise, I am irreconcilably opposed to the revival of the African slave trade, in any form and under any circumstances. am, with great respect, yours truly,




Ar no period of his life did Mr. Douglas experience more anxiety than just previous to the assembling of the Cincinnati Convention. This anxiety was not produced by any anticipations as to the action of that body respecting his nomination for the presidency. He had, in obedience to an established and recognized principle of the party, introduced and carried

through Congress the Kansas-Nebraska Act, including the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. That act had failed to command the votes of a large body of the Democratic representatives in Congress. It had been met by a fierce and unrelenting combination in the northern states, against which the Democracy, except in a few isolated cases, had been unable to stand. The elections of 1854–5 bad been most disastrous, and the thousands who regard present defeat as more fatal than the ultimate and successful establishment of a right principle heaped upon him their denunciations. His anxiety was lest the timid and temporizing would endeavor in that Convention to avoid or oppose a clear and unequivocal endorsement of the great principle of self-government and non-interference by Congress with the subject of slavery in the territories. When that Convention met, and when the representatives of the Democracy of all the states, without a dissenting voice, indorsed that great act of legislation, and proclaimed that thenceforth Congress washed its hands of all interference with the domestic affairs of the people of the territories—those inchoate states, as President Pierce styled them-all anxiety was removed, and once more he had the assurance of the Democracy that his adherence to the cause of right and truth had received, as well it had merited, the approbation of the Democracy of the nation,

There never was a platform of the Democracy that commended itself more generally to the approval of the people than that adopted at Cincinnati. It commanded the approbation of at least one half of the Republican party at the North. The latter, however, could not be induced to believe that the Democracy would carry out that platform in good faith. The action of the Lecompton Convention, the propositions for a revival of the slave trade, and for a slave code for the territories, have not had the effect to remove the doubts previously entertained by those who questioned the honesty of the intentions of those who adopted the Cincinnati platform. The only way in which these doubts can ever be removed, and the people of the northwest again united under a common organization for the protection and security of the Constitution and the Union, is by placing the administration of that platform in the hands of a man who is known to entertain for it a devotion and an affection unequalled by that of any other person. A good



platform with candidates whose political fidelity is not established in the minds of the people is one thing, and a very different thing from the same platform with candidates who are known to the people as men who, at all hazards, and under all circumstances, will stand by principle, and never, even to court popular favor, abandon the established doctrines of free constitutional government.

Since June, 1856, Mr. Douglas has been unremitting in his defense of that platform. He stands upon it now, and clings to it as the best exposition of political faith ever produced in the United States since the adoption of the Constitution; and, when fairly executed, the safest and only reliable chart for avoiding those calamities that must ever attend any Federal legislation repecting African slavery. It is the best and most comprehensive declaration of the rights of the States that has ever been put in form, and there can be no violation of that platform that does not equally violate the vested and constitutional rights of the states of the Confederacy.

To the support and maintenance of that platform he has devoted much of his time, and expended his health and personal labor. In 1856, after its adoption, the Democratic National Committee at Washington regarded his report made upon Kansas affairs, on March 12th preceding, such an admirable epitome of the principles of the Democracy, subsequently asserted in the Cincinnati platform, that they had no less than three hundred thousand copies of it printed and circulated. The doctrines of that report were then deemed the best kind of Democracy, although they declared that no law or state government should be forced upon the people that did not receive a sanction from these people.

In the defense of the Cincinnati platform all questions were narrowed down to the one the great fundamental principle of the right of the people of every distinct political community, which may be loyal to the Constitution, to regulate their own domestic affairs and local institutions, free of all interference by other states, or by the Federal government, and subject to no other restraint than may exist in the Constitution of the United States. In the defense of this principle Mr. Douglas, during the recess of 1859, prepared an elaborate essay, which was published in the September number of Harper's New Monthly Magazine. It had not only the extensive circulation of that popular publication, but soon found its way through an extra or supplemental edition, in pamphlet form, to all parts of the country. It was also published extensively in the public journals. We are authorized by Messrs. Harper & Brothers to republish that argument in this volume. It was as follows:


[Reprinted from Harper's Magazine, September, 1859.] Under our complex system of government it is the first duty of American statesmen to mark distinctly the dividing line between federal and local authority. To do this with accuracy involves an inquiry, not only into the powers and duties of the federal government under the Constitution, but also into the rights, privileges, and immunities of the people of the territories, as well as of the states composing the Union. The relative powers and functions of the federal and state governments have become well understood and clearly defined by their practical operation and harmonious action for a long series of years; while the disputed question—involving the right of the people of the territories to govern themselves in respect to their local affairs and internal polity-remains a fruitful source of partisan strife and sectional controversy. The political organization which was formed in 1854, and has assumed the name of the Republican party, is based on the theory that African slavery, as it exists in this country, is an evil of such magnitude-social, moral, and political—as to justify and require the exertion of the entire power and influence of the federal government to the full extent that the Constitution, according to their interpretation, will permit for its ultimate extinction. In the platform of principles adopted at Philadelphia by the Republican National Convention in 1856, it is affirmed:

" That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign power over the territories of the United States for their government, and that in the exorcise of this power it is both the right and the duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery.”

According to the theory of the Republican party there is an irrepressible conflict between freedom and slavery, free labor and slave labor, free states and slave states, which is irreconcilable, and must continue to rage with increasing fury until the one shall become universal by the annihilation of the other. In the language of the most eminent and authoritative expounder of their political faith,

"It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces; and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation or entirely a free-labor nation. Either the cotton and rice fields of South Carolina, and the sugar plantations of Louisiana will ultimately be tilled by free labor, and Charleston and New Orleans become marts for legitimate merchandise alone, or else the rye fields and wheat fields of Massachusetts and New York must again be surrendered by their farmers to slave culture and to the production of slaves, and Boston and New York become once more markets for trade in the bodies and souls of


In the Illinois canvass of 1858 the same proposition was advocated and defended by the distinguished Republican standard-bearer in these words :

“In my opinion it (the slavery agitation] will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. A house divided against itself can not stand.' I believe this government can not endure permanently half slave

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