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wonder if he is a Kentuckian? (A voice-"He is a Douglas man.") Well, then, I want to know what you are going to do with your half of it? Are you going to split the Ohio down through, and push your half off a piece? Or are you going to keep it right alongside of us outrageous fellows? Or are you going to build up a wall some way between your country and ours, by which that movable property of yours can't come over here any more, to the danger of your losing it? Do you think you can better yourselves on that subject, by leaving us here under no obligation whatever to return those specimens of your movable property that come hither? You have divided the Union because we would not do right with you, as you think, upon that subject; when we cease to be under obligations to do anything for you, how much better off do you think you will be? Will you make war upon us and kill us all? Why, gentlemen, I think you are as gallant and as brave men as live; that you can fight as bravely in a good cause, man for man, as any other people living; that you have shown yourselves capable of this upon various occasions; but man for man, you are not better than we are, and there are not so many of you as there are of us. You will never make much of a hand at whipping us. If we were fewer in numbers than you, I think that you could whip us; if we were equal it would likely be a drawn battle; but being inferior in numbers, you will make nothing by attempting to master us.
The most elaborate and carefully prepared speech, ever made by Mr. Lincoln, was that delivered by him at the Cooper Institute, in the city of New York, on Tuesday evening, February 29th, 1860.
This was Mr. Lincoln's first appearance in that city. The large hall was crowded to hear this Western statesman, then chiefly known as the successful competitor of Douglas. Bryant, the poet, presided; if any came to hear noisy declamation or verbiage, they must have been disappointed. There is not a more learned, exhaustive, logical speech in political literature. It has not a superfluous word.
He took for the text of his speech, these words of Senator Douglas, uttered at Columbus, Ohio, the previous autumn.
"Our fathers when they framed the Government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better than we do now."
Conceding that this was true, Mr. Lincoln proceeded to enquire, "what was the understanding those fathers had of the question mentioned?" (Slavery.)
He first answers, who were "our fathers who framed the Government."
He showed that the thirty-nine men who framed the Constitution were "our fathers."
"What is the question which these fathers understood just as well, if not better than we do now?"
It is this: "Does the Constitution forbid our Federal Government to control as to slavery in our Federal territories?" He then went into a full historical argument on the subject, presenting every recorded act of the Fathers upon the question. His argument demonstrating the right of Congress to prohibit slavery in the territories, never has been, and never can be answered.
He closed this great speech, which made a profound impression upon the thoughtful men of New York, with these memorable words. “Let us have faith that right makes might,
and in that faith let understand it.”
us to the end, dare to do our duty, as we
This effort was so dignified in manner, and style, it exhibited such logic, and learning, and was in every way so different from what was expected, that the orator from the prairies awoke the next morning to find himself famous.
This speech was very widely circulated and read, and prepared the minds of the people for his nomination for the Presidency.
As the Presidential election of 1860, approached, Mr. Lincoln's name was more and more frequently mentioned in connection with that position. The prominent candidates, however, continued to be Senators Seward and Cameron, and Governor Chase. Mr. Lincoln, outside of Illinois, was regarded only as a possible compromise candidate.
On the 10th of May, 1860, a Republican State Convention was held at Decatur, in Macon county, Illinois, to nominate State officers, and appoint delegates to the National Presidential Convention, which was to meet in Chicago, in June.
As Mr. Lincoln entered the hall where the convention was in session, he was received with such marked demonstration as left no doubt, about his being the choice of Illinois, for the Presidency. Soon after he was seated, General Oglesby, announced that an old democrat of Macon county, desired to make a contribution to the convention.
Immediately, some farmers brought into the hall two old fence rails, bearing the inscription, "Abraham Lincoln, the rail candidate for the Presidency in 1860. Two rails from a lot
THE RAIL SPLITTER OF ILLINOIS.
of 3,000, made in 1830, by Thomas Hanks and Abe Lincoln, whose father was the first pioneer of Macon county."
The effect of this cannot be described. For fifteen minutes, cheers upon cheers went up from the crowd. Lincoln was called to the stand, but his rising was the signal for renewed cheering, and this continued until the audience had exhausted itself, and then Mr. Lincoln gave a history of these two rails, and of his life in Macon county. He told the story of his labor in helping to build his father's log cabin, and fencing in a field of corn.
This dramatic scene, was not planned by politicians, but was the spontaneous action of the old pioneers. The effect it had upon the people, satisfied all present, that it was a waste of words to talk in Illinois, of any other man than Abraham Lincoln, for President.
No public man had less of the demagogue, than Mr. Lincoln. He never mentioned his humble life, or his manual labor, for the purpose of getting votes. He knew perfectly well, that it did not follow because a man could split rails, that he would make a good statesman or President. So far from having any feeling of this kind, he realized painfully, the defects of his education, and did his utmost to supply his deficiencies.
When told that the people were talking of making him President, he said, "they ought to select some one who knows more than I do."
But while he did not think any more of himself, because he had in early life, split rails, he had too much real dignity to lose any self respect on that account.
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1860-ELECTION OF LINCOLN, AND CULMINATION OF THE CONSPIRACY TO DISSOLVE THE UNION.
THE CHARLESTON CONVENTION-DOUGLAS-SECESSIONISTS BREAK UP THE CONVENTION-ADJOURN TO BALTIMORE-AND RICHMOND-DOUGLAS-AND BRECKINRIDGE NOMINATED" AMERICANS NOMINATE BELL AND EVERETT-THE CHICAGO CONVENTION-THE WIG-WAM-SEWARD-LINCOLN THE NOMINATION -THE CANVASS-THE "WIDE-AWAKES"-POSITION OF PARTIES ON THE SLAVERY QUESTION-LINCOLN ELECTED-CONSPIRACY TO DISSOLVE THE UNION-PREPARATIONS OF THE CONSPIRATORS -THE NORTH DISARMED.
OR to the meeting of the Democratic National Convention, which met at Charleston, South Carolina, in April, 1860, it was obvious that a storm was gathering which threatened the rupture of that old and powerful organization. Douglas was the popular candidate for President in the free States, and had many strong personal friends in the slave States. But the ultra slaveholders as a class, were bitterly hostile to him on account of his course on the Lecompton question. They determined to break up the convention rather than permit his nomination. Hitherto in conventions, the North had yielded to the more positive and determined leaders among the slaveholders, and many supposed the friends of Douglas would yield, and that a nomination of some negative man would be forced upon the convention upon whom the party would harmonize. But two powerful elements prevented this.
The friends of Douglas who had been inspired by him with a will as determined as that of his enemies, having a majority, resolved that their leader should not be sacrificed as Van
Buren, Benton, and other leaders had been, who had offended the slaveholders.
The other element was composed of the secessionists and traitors, who did not desire Union, but were determined to push matters to extremes, to divide the democratic party, thereby secure the success of the republican party, and then to make that success the pretext for secession. A convention composed of these elements with such purposes, could not harmonize.
The committee upon resolutions to which the subject of the platform was referred, made three reports. The majority reported resolutions declaring, among other things, that "Congress had no power to abolish or prohibit slavery in the territories; nor had the territorial Legislature any power to abolish or prohibit slavery in the territories; *** nor to impair or destroy the right of property in slaves by any legislation whatever.”
This was intended as a direct repudiation of Mr. Douglas' doctrine of popular sovereignty, and his friends knew that they might as well give up the canvass at the start, as to go before the people on this platform. A minority of the committee, but representing a decided majority of the electoral votes, reported resolutions re-affirming the old platform adopted at Cincinnati, in 1856; with some additional resolutions designed to conciliate the slave States, and declaring that "inasmuch as there were differences of opinion in the democratic party as to the powers of a territorial Legislature, and as to the powers and duties of Congress under the Constitution, over the institution of slavery in the territories, the democratic party would abide by the decrees of the Supreme Court, on questions of Constitutional law."
When it is remembered that the Dred Scott decision had been pronounced, giving to the slaveholders all that they claimed, one would suppose that this resolution would have been deemed satisfactory. And it would have been, if the slaveholders had really desired harmony, but a majority of them meant disunion. Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts, one of the committee, reported the Cincinnati platform without addition. After voting down Mr. Butler's proposition, the