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His Speech at the Cooper Institute.

Slavery in the Federal Territories.

territory. Not only was it the same Congress, but they were the identical, same individual men who, at the same time within the session, had under consideration, and in progress toward maturity, these Constitutional amendments, and this act prohibiting slavery in all the territory the nation then owned. The Constitutional amendments were introduced before, and passed after the act enforcing the Ordinance of '87; so that during the whole pendency of the act to enforce the Ordinance, the Constitutional amendments were also pending.

“That Congress, consisting in all of seventy-six members, including sixteen of the framers of the original Constitution, as before stated, were pre-eminently our fathers who framed that part of the government under which we live, which is now claimed as forbidding the Federal Government to control slavery in the Federal Territories.

"Is it not a little presumptuous in any one at this day, to affirm that the two things which that Congress deliberately framed, and carried to maturity at the same time, are absolutely inconsistent with each other? And does not such affirmation become impudently absurd when coupled with the other affirmation, from the same mouth, that those who did the two things alleged to be inconsistent, understood whether they were really inconsistent, better than we-better than he who affirms that they are inconsistent.

It is surely safe to assume that the 'thirty-nine' framers of the original Constitution, and the seventy-six members of the Congress which framed the amendments thereto, taken together, do certainly include those who may be fairly called our fathers who framed the government under wbich we live.' And so assuming, I defy any man to show that any one of them ever, in his whole life, declared that, in his understanding, any proper division of local from Federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal government to control as to slavery in the Federal territories. I go

His Speech at the Cooper Institute.

Slavery in the Federal Territories.

a step further. I defy any one to show that any living man in the whole world ever did, prior to the beginning of the present century and I might almost say prior to the beginning of the last half of the present century), declare that, in his understanding, any proper division of local from Federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal government to control as to slavery in the Federal territories. To those who now so declare, I give, not only 'our fathers who framed the government under which we live,' but with them all other living men within the century in which it was framed, among whom to search, and they shall not be able to find the evidence of a single man agreeing with them.

“Now, and here, let me guard a little against being misunderstood. I do not mean to say we are bound to follow implicitly in whatever our fathers did. To do so would be to discard all the lights of current experience—we reject all progress-all improvement. What I do say is, that if we would supplant the opinions and policy of our fathers in any case, we should do so upon evidence so conclusive, and argument so clear, that even their great authority, fairly considered and weighed, cannot stand; and most surely not in a case whereof we ourselves declare they understood the question better than we.

“If any man, at this day, sincerely believes that a proper division of local from Federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbids the Federal government to control as to slavery in the Federal territories, he is right to say so, and to enforce his position by all truthful evidence and fair argument which he can. But he has no right to mislead others, who have less access to history and less leisure to study it, into the false belief that our fathers, who framed the government under which we live,' were of the same opinion thus substituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argument. If any man, at this day, sincerely believes 'our fatbers, who framed the government under which wo

His Speech at the Cooper Institute.

All the Republicans Desire.

live,' used and applied principles, in other cases, which ought to have led them to understand that a proper division of local from Federal authority, or some part of the Constitution, forbids the Federal government to control as to slavery in the Federal territories, he is right to say so. But he should, at the same time, brave the responsibility of declaring that, in his opinion, he understands their principles better than they did themselves; and especially should he not shirk that responsibility by asserting that they understood the question just as well, and even better than we do now.'

“But enough. Let all who believe that our fathers, who framed the government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better than we do now,' speak as they spoke, and act as they acted upon it. This is all Republicans ask, all Republicans desire, in relation to slavery. As those fathers marked it, so let it be again marked, as an evil not to be extended, but to be tolerated and protected only because of and so far as its actual presence among us makes that toleration and protection a necessity. Let all the guaranties those fathers gave it, be, not grudgingly, but folly and fairly maintained. For this Republicans contend, and with this, so far as I know or believe, they will be content.

“And now, if they would listen-as I suppose they will not_I would address a few words to the Southern people.

“I would say to them : You consider yourselves a reasonable and a just people; and I consider that, in the general qualities of reason and justice, you are not inferior to any other people. Still, when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us as reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to Black Republicans.' In all your contentions with one ano' her, each of you deems an unconditional condemnation of Black Republicanism' as the first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of

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LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

His Speech at the Cooper Institute.

An Appeal to the South,

us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite-license, so to speak—among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all.

“Now can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to yourselves ?

“Bring forward your charges and specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify.

“You say we are sectional. We deny it. That makes an issue; and the burden of proof is upon you. You produce your proof; and what is it? Why, that our party has no existence in your section-gets no votes in your section. The fact is substantially true; but does it prove the issue ? If it does, then, in case we should, without change of principle, begin to get votes in your section, we should thereby cease to be sectional. You cannot escape this conclusion ; and yet, are you willing to abide by it? If you are, you will probably soon find that we have ceased to be sectional, for we shall get votes in your section this very year.

You will then begin to discover, as the truth plainly is, that your proof does not touch the issue. The fact that we get no votes in your section is a fact of your making, and not of ours. And if there be fault in that fact, that fault is primarily yours, and remains so until you show that we repel you by some wrong principle or practice. If we do repel you by any wrong principle or practice, the fault is ours; but this brings us to where you ought to have started—to a discussion of the right or wrong of our principle. If our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section for the benefit of ours, or for any other object, then our principle, and we with it, are sectional, and are justly opposed and denounced as such. Meet us, then, on the question of whether our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section ; ar d so meet it as if it were possihle that something may be said on our side. Do you accept the challenge ? No? Then you really believe that the

BEFORE THE NATION.

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His Speech at the Cooper Institute.

Washington's Warning.

Conservatism Defiued.

principle which our fathers, who framed the government under which we live, thought so clearly right as to adopt it, and indorse it again and again upon their official oaths, is, in fact, so clearly wrong as to demand your condemnation without a moment's consideration.

Some of you delight to flaunt in our faces the warning against sectional parties given by Washington in his Farewell Address. Less than eight years before Washington gave that warning, he bad, as President of the United States, approved and signed an act of Congress enforcing the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory, which act embodied the policy of the government upon that subject, up to and at the very moment he penned that warning; and about one year after he penned it he wrote Lafayette that he considered that prohibition a wise measure, expressing, in the same connection, bis hope that we should some time have a confederacy of free States.

“Bearing this in mind, and seeing that sectionalism has since arisen upon this same subject, is that warning a weapon in your hands against us, or in our bands against you? Could Washington himself speak, would be cast the blame of that sectionalism upon us, who sustain his policy, or upon you, who repudiate it ? We respect that warning of Washington, and we commend it to you, together with his example pointing to the right application of it.

“But you say you are conservative-eminently conservative-while we are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried against the new and untried ? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy on the point in controversy which was adopted by our fathers who framed the government under which we live; while you, with one accord, reject, and scout, and spit upon that ord policy, and insist upon substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves as to what that substitute shall be. Yon

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