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niche, for the Dred Scott decision to afterward come in, and declare the perfect freedom of the people to be just no freedom at all. Why was the amendment, expressly declaring the right of the people, voted down? Plainly enough now: the adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision. Why was the court decision held up? Why even a senator's individual opinion withheld, till after the presidential election? Plainly enough now: the speaking out then would have damaged the perfectly free argument upon which the election was to be carried. Why the out-going president's felicitation on the indorsement? Why the delay of a re-argument? Why the incoming president's advance exhortation in favor of the decision? These things look like the cautious patting and petting of a spirited horse preparatory to mounting him, when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a fall. And why the hasty after-indorsement of the decision by the president and others?
"We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert. But when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workmen-Stephen, Franklin, Roger and James, for instance-and when we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few-not omitting even scaffolding-or, if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in-in such a case, we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow was struck.
"It should not be overlooked that, by the Nebraska bill, the people of a state as well as territory, were to be left 'perfectly free,' 'subject only to the Constitution. Why mention a state? They were legislating for territories, and not for or about states. Certainly the people of a state are and ought to be subject to the Constitution of the United States; but why is mention of this lugged into this merely territorial law? Why are the people of a territory and the people of a state therein lumped together, and their relation to the Constitution therein treated as being precisely the same? While the opinion of the court, by Chief Justice Taney, in the Dred Scott case, and the separate opinions of all the concurring judges, expressly declare that the Constitution of the United States neither permits Congress nor a territorial legislature to exclude slavery from any United States territory, they all omit to declare whether or not the same Constitution permits a state, or the people of a state, to exclude it. Possibly, this is a mere omission;
but who can be quite sure, if McLean or Curtis had sought to get into the opinion a declaration of unlimited power in the people of a state to exclude slavery from their limits, just as Chase and Mace sought to get such declaration, in behalf of the people of a territory, into the Nebraska bill;-I ask, who can be quite sure that it would not have been voted down in the one case as it had been in the other? The nearest approach to the point of declaring the power of a state over slavery, is made by Judge Nelson. He approaches it more than once, using the precise idea, and almost the language, too, of the Nebraska act. On one occasion, his exact language is, 'except in cases where the power is restrained by the Constitution of the United States, the law of the state is supreme over the subject of slavery within its jurisdiction. In what cases the power of the states is so restrained by the United States Constitution, is left an open question, precisely as the same question as to the restraint on the power of the territories was left open in the Nebraska act. Put this and that together, and we have another nice little niche, which we may, ere long, see filled with another Supreme Court decision, declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a state to exclude slavery from its limits. And this may especially be expected if the doctrine of 'care not whether slavery be voted down or voted up,' shall gain upon the public mind sufficiently to give promise that such a decision can be maintained when made.
"Such a decision is all that slavery now lacks of being alike lawful in all the states. Welcome, or unwelcome, such decision is probably coming, and will soon be upon us, unless the power of the present political dynasty shall be met and overthrown. We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the verge of making their state free, and we shall awake to the reality instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave state. To meet and overthrow the power of that dynasty, is the work now before all those who would prevent that consummation. That is what we have to do. How can we best do it?
"There are those who denounce us openly to their own friends, and yet whisper us softly that Senator Douglas is the aptest instrument there is with which to effect that object. They wish us to infer all, from the fact that he now has a little quarrel with the present head of the dynasty; and that he has regularly voted with us on a single point, upon which he and we have never differed. They remind us that he is a great man, and that the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be granted. But a living dog is better than a dead lion.' Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion, for this work, is at least a caged and toothless one. How can he oppose the advances of slavery? He don't care anything about it. His avowed mission is impressing the 'public heart' to care nothing about it. A leading Douglas democratic newspaper
thinks Douglas' superior talent will be needed to resist the revival of the African slave trade. Does Douglas believe an effort to revive that trade is approaching? He has not said so. Does he really think so? But if it is, how can he resist it? For years he has labored to prove it a sacred right of white men to take negro slaves into the new territories. Can be possibly show that it is less a sacred right to buy them where they can be bought cheapest? And unquestionably they can be bought cheaper in Africa than in Virginia. He has done all in his power to reduce the whole question of slavery to one of a mere right of property; and as such, how can he oppose the foreign slave trade-how can he refuse that trade in that 'property' shall be 'perfectly free '-unless he does it as a protection to the home production? And as the home producers will probably not ask the protection, he will be wholly without a ground of opposition.
"Senator Douglas holds, we know, that a man may rightfully be wiser to-day than he was yesterday-that he may rightfully change when he finds himself wrong. But can we, for that reason, run ahead, and infer that he will make any particular change of which he himself has given no intimation? Can we safely base our action upon any such vague inference? Now, as ever, I wish not to misrepresent Judge Douglas' position, question his motives, or do aught that can be personally offensive to him. Whenever, if ever, he and we can come together on principle so that our cause may have assistance from his great ability, I hope to have interposed no adventitious obstacle. But clearly, he is not now with us he does not pretend to be--he does not promise ever to be.
"Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by, its own undoubted friends-those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work-who do care for the result. Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand strong. We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us. Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud and pampered enemy Did we brave all then, to falter now?now, when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail-if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come."
The members of the convention carried away with them something to think about. There had been in Mr. Lincoln's speech no appeals to their partisan prejudices, no tricks to catch applause. He had appeared before them as an earnest,
patriotic man, intent only on discussing, in the gravest and most candid manner, the most interesting and momentous political questions.
On the ninth of July, Mr. Douglas made a speech in Chicago. The reception he received was a magnificent one-one which might well have filled him with the gratification which he did not attempt to conceal-which, indeed, he took repeated occasion to express. In this speech he alluded to his efforts to crush the Lecompton fraud, and claimed that the republicans who had fought by his side had indorsed his popular sovereignty doctrine-the right of the people of a territory to form their own institutions.
He then took up the action of the republican convention at Springfield, and spoke at length of Mr. Lincoln and his speech. Of Mr. Lincoln, he said: "I take great pleasure in saying that I have known, personally and intimately, for about a quarter of a century, the worthy gentleman who has been nominated for my place, and I will say that I regard him as a kind, amiable and intelligent gentleman, a good citizen and an honorable opponent; and whatever issue I may have with him will be of principle and not of personalities." He then read from the opening paragraph of Mr. Lincoln's speech the words: "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 to cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other." The unfairness of his comments upon this simple statement of a conviction may be gathered from the construction which he put upon it in the words "Mr. Lincoln advocates boldly and clearly a war of sections, a war of the North against the South, of the free states against the slave states, a war of extermination, to be continued relentlessly, until the one or the other shall be subdued, and all the states shall either become free or become slave."
Mr. Lincoln foresaw the approaching struggle between freedom and slavery and its inevitable result. He did not be
lieve a dissolution of the Union possible, but he knew that freedom and slavery were irreconcilable enemies. He knew that slavery must die, or become national. He saw the determination of its friends to make it national, and he believed that this attempt would succeed, or that, failing of success, it would end in the universal abolition of slavery. Events have entirely justified his most philosophical view of the subject.
The next point that Mr. Douglas endeavored to make was as illegitimate as his previous one, viz: that Mr. Lincoln desired to reduce the states to a dead uniformity of interests and institutions, contrary to the theory and policy of the fathers of the republic. In order to do this, he was of course obliged to ignore the fact that Mr. Lincoln had alluded to but one institution, and that, in its nature antagonistic with the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and to recognize slavery as having the same legitimate basis with the other institutions of the country. Having construed Mr. Lincoln's position unfairly, he logically drove to the unjust conclusion that when the uniformity should be attained which Mr. Lincoln desired, the government would have "converted these thirty-two sovereign, independent states, into one consolidated empire, with the uniformity of disposition reigning triumphant throughout the length and breadth of the land."
He next took up Mr. Lincoln's criticism of the Dred Scott decision, and, by his treatment of it, fully vindicated the action of the Illinois republicans in their refusal to support him in accordance with the wishes of their eastern friends. No republican could consistently support a man who supported that iniquitous and barbarous decision. If it is said that his course on this question would have been changed by their support, the case is still worse, for no man whose course could be changed by such considerations would be worthy of the support of any party. "I am opposed to this doctrine of Mr. Lincoln," said Mr. Douglas, "by which he proposes to take an appeal from the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States upon this high constitutional question, to a republican caucus sitting in the count *** I respect the