Page images
PDF
EPUB

of that part of the Declaration of Independence which declares that "all men are created equal."

Now let us hear Judge Douglas's view of the same subject, as I find it in the printed report of his late speech. Here it is:

No man can vindicate the character, motives, and conduct of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, except upon the hypothesis that they referred to the white race alone, and not to the African, when they declared all men to have been created equal; that they were speaking of British subjects on this continent being equal to British subjects born and residing in Great Britain; that they were entitled to the same inalienable rights, and among them were enumerated life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration was adopted for the purpose of justifying the colonists in the eyes of the civilized world in withdrawing their allegiance from the British crown, and dissolving their connection with the mother country.

My good friends, read that carefully over some leisure hour, and ponder well upon it; see what a mere wreck-mangled ruin-it makes of our once glorious Declaration.

"They were speaking of British subjects on this continent being equal to British subjects born and residing in Great Britain!" Why, according to this, not only negroes but white people outside of Great Britain and America were not spoken of in that instrument. The English, Irish, and Scotch, along with white Americans, were included, to be sure, but the French, Germans, and other white people of the world are all gone to pot along with the judge's inferior races!

I had thought the Declaration promised something better than the condition of British subjects; but no, it only meant that we should be equal to them in their own oppressed and unequal condition. According to that, it gave no promise that, having kicked off the king and lords of Great Britain, we should not at once be saddled with a king and lords of our own.

I had thought the Declaration contemplated the progressive improvement in the condition of all men everywhere; but no, it merely was adopted for the purpose of justifying the colonists in the eyes of the civilized world in withdrawing their allegiance from the British crown, and dissolving their connection with the mother country." Why, that object having been effected some eighty years ago, the Declaration is of no practical use now-mere rubbish —old wadding left to rot on the battle-field after the victory is won.

I understand you are preparing to celebrate the "Fourth," tomorrow week. What for? The doings of that day had no reference to the present; and quite half of you are not even descendants of those who were referred to at that day. But I suppose you will celebrate, and will even go so far as to read the Declaration. Suppose, after you read it once in the old-fashioned way, you read it once more with Judge Douglas's version. It will then run thus: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all British subjects who were on this continent eighty-one years ago, were created equal to all British subjects born and then residing in Great Britain."

are you

And now I appeal to all-to Democrats as well as others really willing that the Declaration shall thus be frittered away?

thus left no more, at most, than an interesting memorial of the dead past?-thus shorn of its vitality and practical value, and left without the germ or even the suggestion of the individual rights of man in it?

[ocr errors]

But Judge Douglas is especially horrified at the thought of the mixing of blood by the white and black races. Agreed for once a thousand times agreed. There are white men enough to marry all the white women, and black men enough to marry all the black women; and so let them be married. On this point we fully agree with the judge, and when he shall show that his policy is better adapted to prevent amalgamation than ours, we shall drop ours and adopt his. Let us see. In 1850 there were in the United States 405,751 mulattos. Very few of these are the offspring of whites and free blacks; nearly all have sprung from black slaves and white masters. A separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation; but as an immediate separation is impossible, the next best thing is to keep them apart where they are not already together. If white and black people never get together in Kansas, they will never mix blood in Kansas. That is at least one self-evident truth. A few free colored persons may get into the free States, in any event; but their number is too insignificant to amount to much in the way of mixing blood. In 1850 there were in the free States 56,649 mulattos; but for the most part they were not born therethey came from the slave States, ready made up. In the same year the slave States had 348,874 mulattos, all of home production. The proportion of free mulattos to free blacks-the only colored classes in the free States-is much greater in the slave than in the free States. It is worthy of note, too, that among the free States those which make the colored man the nearest equal to the white have proportionably the fewest mulattos, the least of amalgamation. In New Hampshire, the State which goes farthest toward equality between the races, there are just 184 mulattos, while there are in Virginia-how many do you think?-79,775, being 23,126 more than in all the free States together.

These statistics show that slavery is the greatest source of amalgamation, and next to it, not the elevation, but the degradation of the free blacks. Yet Judge Douglas dreads the slightest restraints on the spread of slavery, and the slightest human recognition of the negro, as tending horribly to amalgamation.

The very Dred Scott case affords a strong test as to which party most favors amalgamation, the Republicans or the dear Union-saving Democracy. Dred Scott, his wife, and two daughters were all involved in the suit. We desired the court to have held that they were citizens so far at least as to entitle them to a hearing as to whether they were free or not; and then, also, that they were in fact and in law really free. Could we have had our way, the chances of these black girls ever mixing their blood with that of white people would have been diminished at least to the extent that it could not have been without their consent. But Judge Douglas is delighted to have them decided to be slaves, and not human enough to have a hearing, even if they were free, and thus left subject to the forced concubinage

of their masters, and liable to become the mothers of mulattos in spite of themselves: the very state of case that produces nine tenths of all the mulattos-all the mixing of blood in the nation.

Of course, I state this case as an illustration only, not meaning to say or intimate that the master of Dred Scott and his family, or any more than a percentage of masters generally, are inclined to exercise this particular power which they hold over their female slaves. I have said that the separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation. I have no right to say all the members of the Republican party are in favor of this, nor to say that as a party they are in favor of it. There is nothing in their platform directly on the subject. But I can say a very large proportion of its members are for it, and that the chief plank in their platform -opposition to the spread of slavery-is most favorable to that separation.

Such separation, if ever effected at all, must be effected by colonization; and no political party, as such, is now doing anything directly for colonization. Party operations at present only favor or retard colonization incidentally. The enterprise is a difficult one; but "where there is a will there is a way," and what colonization needs most is a hearty will. Will springs from the two elements of moral sense and self-interest. Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and at the same time favorable to, or at least not against, our interest to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be. The children of Israel, to such numbers as to include four hundred thousand fighting men, went out of Egyptian bondage in a body.

How differently the respective courses of the Democratic and Republican parties incidentally bear on the question of forming a will -a public sentiment-for colonization, is easy to see. The Republicans inculcate, with whatever of ability they can, that the negro is a man, that his bondage is cruelly wrong, and that the field of his oppression ought not to be enlarged. The Democrats deny his manhood; deny, or dwarf to insignificance, the wrong of his bondage; so far as possible, crush all sympathy for him, and cultivate and excite hatred and disgust against him; compliment themselves as Union-savers for doing so; and call the indefinite outspreading of his bondage "a sacred right of self-government."

The plainest print cannot be read through a gold eagle; and it will be ever hard to find many men who will send a slave to Liberia, and pay his passage, while they can send him to a new countryKansas, for instance- and sell him for fifteen hundred dollars, and the rise.

April 26, 1858.-LETTER TO E. B. WASHBURNE.

HON. E. B. WASHBURNE.

URBANA, ILLINOIS, April 26, 1858.

My dear Sir: I am rather a poor correspondent, but I think perhaps I ought to write you a letter just now. I am here at this time, but I was at home during the sitting of the two Democratic conven

tions. The day before those conventions I received a letter from Chicago, having among other things on other subjects the following in it:

A reliable Republican, but an old-line Whig lawyer, in this city told me to-day that he himself had seen a letter from one of our Republican congressmen, advising us all to go for the reëlection of Judge Douglas. He said he was enjoined to keep the author a secret, and he was going to do so. From him I learned that he was not an old-line Democrat or Abolitionist. This narrows the contest down to the congressmen from the Galena and Fulton districts.

The above is a literal copy of all the letter contained on that subject. The morning of the conventions, Mr. Herndon showed me your letter of the 15th to him, which convinced me that the story in the letter from Chicago was based upon some mistake, misconstruction of language, or the like. Several of our friends were down from Chicago, and they had something of the same story amongst them, some half suspecting that you were inclined to favor Douglas, and others thinking there was an effort to wrong you.

I thought neither was exactly the case; that the whole had originated in some misconstruction coupled with a high degree of sensitiveness on the point, and that the whole matter was not worth another moment's consideration.

Such is my opinion now, and I hope you will have no concern about it. I have written this because Charley Wilson told me he was writing you, and because I expect Dr. Ray (who was a little excited about the matter) has also written you; and because I think I, perhaps, have taken a calmer view of the thing than they may have done. I am satisfied you have done no wrong, and nobody has intended any wrong to you.

A word about the conventions. The Democracy parted in not a very encouraged state of mind. On the contrary, our friends, a good many of whom were present, parted in high spirits. They think if we do not triumph, the fault will be our own, and so I really think. Your friend as ever, A. LINCOLN.

May 10, 1858.- LETTER TO J. M. LUCAS.

J. M. LUCAS, Esq.

SPRINGFIELD, May 10, 1858.

My dear Sir: Your long and kind letter was received to-day. It came upon me as an agreeable old acquaintance. Politically speaking, there is a curious state of things here. The impulse of almost every Democrat is to stick to Douglas; but it horrifies them to have to follow him out of the Democratic party. A good many are annoyed that he did not go for the English contrivance, and thus heal the breach. They begin to think there is a "negro in the fence,”that Douglas really wants to have a fuss with the President; - that sticks in their throats. Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

May 10, 1858.-LETTER TO E. B. WASHBURNE.

HON. E. B. WASHBURNE.

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, May 10, 1858.

My dear Sir: I have just reached home from the circuit, and found your letter of the 2d, for which I thank you. My other letter to you was meant for nothing but to hedge against bad feeling being gotten up between those who ought to be friends, out of the incident mentioned in that letter. I sent you an extract from the Chicago letter in order to let you see that the writer did not profess to know anything himself; and I now add that his informant told me that he did tell him exactly what he wrote me-at least I distinctly so understood him. The informant is an exceedingly clever fellow; and I think he, having had a hasty glance at your letter to Charley Wilson, misconstrued it, and consequently misreported it to the writer of the letter to me. I must repeat that I think the thing did not originate in malice to you, or to any one, and that the best way all round is to now forget it entirely. Will you not adjourn in time to be here at our State convention in June? Your friend as ever, A. LINCOLN.

May 15, 1858.-LETTER TO E. B. WASHBURNE.

HON. E. B. WASHBURNE.

SPRINGFIELD, May 15, 1858.

My dear Sir: Yours of the 6th, accompanied by yours of April 12th to C. L. Wilson, was received day before yesterday. There certainly is nothing in the letter to Wilson which I in particular, or Republicans in general, could complain of. Of that I was quite satisfied before I saw the letter. I believe there has been no malicious intent to misrepresent you; I hope there is no longer any misunderstanding, and that the matter may drop.

Eight or ten days ago I wrote Kellogg from Beardstown. Get him to show you the letter. It gave my view of the field as it appeared then. Nothing has occurred since, except that it grows more and more quiet since the passage of the English contrivance.

The "State Register" here is evidently laboring to bring its old friends into what the doctors call the "comatose state,"—that is, a sort of drowsy, dreamy condition, in which they may not perceive or remember that there has ever been, or is, any difference between Douglas and the President. This could be done if the Buchanan men would allow it-which, however, the latter seem determined. not to do.

I think our prospects gradually and steadily grow better, though we are not yet clear out of the woods by a great deal. There is still some effort to make trouble out of "Americanism." If that were out of the way, for all the rest, I believe we should be "out of the woods." Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

« PreviousContinue »