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ure to parry the thrust so aimed. We cannot pretend to give more than the barest sketch of these great efforts of Mr. Lincoln's. They are and always will be, to those who are interested in the history of the Slavery contest, most valuable and important documents.
In the first speech at Ottawa, besides defending himself from some points which Douglas had made against him, and among others, explaining and enlarging upon that passage from his Springfield speech, of “A house divided against itself,” he took up the charge which he had also made in that speech of the conspiracy to extend Slavery over the northern States, and pressed it home, citing as proof of its existence a speech which Douglas himself had made on the Lecompton bill, in which he had substantially made the same charge upon Buchanan and others. He then showed again that all that was necessary for the accomplishment of the scheme was a decision of the Supreme Court that no State could exclude Slavery, as the Court had already decided that no Territory could exclude it, and the acquiescence of the people in such a decision, and he told the people that Douglas was doing all in his power to bring about such acquiescence in advance, by declaring that the true position was not to care whether Slavery voted down or up,” and by announcing himself in favor of the Dred Scott decision, not because it was right, but because a decision of the Court is to him
“Thus saith the Lord," and thus committing himself to the next decision just as firmly as to this. He closed his speech with the following eloquent words: “Henry Clay, my beau ideal of a Statesman--the man for whom I fought all my humble life-once said of a class of
men who would repress all tendencies to liberty and ultimate emancipation, that they must, if they would do this, go back to the era of our Independence and muzzle the cannon which thunders its annual joyous return; they must blow out the moral lights around us; they must penetrate the human soul and eradicate there the love of liberty; and then, and not till then, could they perpetuate Slavery in this country. To my thinking, Judge Douglas is, by his example and vast influence, doing that very thing in this community, when he says that the negro has nothing in the Declaration of Independence. Henry Clay plainly understood the contrary. Judge Douglas is going back to the era of our Revolution, and to the extent of his ability muzzling the cannon which thunders its annual joyous return. When he invites any people, willing to have Slavery, to establish it, he is blowing out the moral lights around us. When he
says cares not whether Slavery is voted down or up'—that it is a sacred right of self-government, he is, in my judgment, penetrating the human soul and eradicating the light of reason and the love of liberty in this American people. And when, by all these means and appliances, he shall succeed in bringing public sentiment to an exact accordance with his own views--when these vast assemblages shall echo back all these sentiments, when they shall come to repeat his views and to avow his principles, and to say all that he says on these mighty questionsthen it needs only the formality of the second Dred Scott decision, which he indorses in advance, to make Slavery alike lawful in all the States-old as well as new, North as well as South."
In the second debate at Freeport, Mr. Lincoln gave categorical answers to seven questions which Douglas had proposed to him, and in his turn put four questions to Douglas, to which he got but evasive replies. He also pressed home upon his opponent à charge of quoting resolutions as being adopted at a Republican State Convention, which were never so adopted, and again called Douglas's attention to the conspiracy to nationalize Slavery, and he showed that his pretended desire to leave the people of a Territory free to establish Slavery or exclude it, was really only a desire to allow them to establish it, as was shown by his voting against Mr. Chase's amendment to the Nebraska Bill, which gave them leave to exclude it. In the third debate at Jonesboro, Mr. Lincoln showed that Douglas and his friends were trying to change the position of the country on the Slavery question from what it was when the Constitution was adopted, and that the disturbance of the country had arisen from this pernicious effort. He then cited from Democratic speeches and platforms of former days to show that they occupied then the very opposite ground on the question from that which was taken now, and showed up the evasive character of Douglas's answers to the questions which he had proposed, especially the subterfuge of “unfriendly legislation" which he had set forth as the means by which the people of a Territory could exclude Slavery from its limits in spite of the Dred Scott decision.
When Mr. Lincoln was preparing these questions for Douglas, he was urged by some of his friends not to corner him on that point, because he would surely stand by his doctrine of Squatter Sovereignty. in defiance of the Dred Scott decision, “and that,” said they, “will make him Senator.” “That may be,” said Mr. Lincoln, with a twinkle in his eye, “but if he takes that shoot he never can be President."
Mr. Lincoln's sagacity did not fail him here. This position which Douglas took of “unfriendly legislation,” was a stumbling-block which he was never able to get over; and if the contest between them had brought out no other good result, the compelling Douglas to take this ground was an immense success.
The fourth speech, at Charleston, was devoted by Mr. Lincoln to enlarging upon the evidence of a charge previously made by Judge Trumbull upon Douglas of being himself responsible for a clause in the Kansas bill which would have deprived the people of Kansas of the right to vote upon their own Constitutiona charge which Douglas could never try to answer without losing his temper.
In the fifth debate, Mr. Lincoln answered the charge that the Republican party was sectional; and after again exploding the fraudulent resolutions and giving strong proof that Douglas himself was a party to the fraud, and again showing that Douglas had failed to answer his question about the acceptance of the new Dred Scott decision, which, he said, was “just as sure to be made as to-morrow is to come, if the Democratic party shall be sustained” in the elections, he discussed the acquisition of further territory and the importance of deciding upon any such acquisition, by the effect which it would have upon the Slavery question among ourselves.
In the next debate, at Quincy, besides making some personal points as to the mode in which Douglas had conducted the previous discussions, he stated clearly and briefly what were the principles of the Republican party, what they proposed to do, and what they did not propose to do. He said that they looked upon Slavery as “ a moral, a social, and a political wrong," and they
proposed a course of conduct which should treat it as a wrong;" did not propose to “disturb it in the States," but did propose to “restrict it to its present limits;" did not propose to decide that Dred Scott was free, but did not believe that the decision in that case was a political rule binding the voters, the Congress, or the President, and proposed “so resisting it as to have it reversed if possible, and a new judicial rule established on the subject."
Mr. Lincoln's last speech, at Alton, was a very full and conclusive argument of the whole Slavery Question. He showed that the present Democratic doctrines were not those held at the time of the Revolution in reference to Slavery; showed how the agitation of the country had come from the attempt to set Slavery upon a different footing, and showed the dangers to the country of this attempt. He brought the whole controversy down to the vital question whether Slavery is wrong or not, and demonstrated that the present Democratic sentiment was that it was not wrong, and that Douglas and those who sympathized with bim did not desire or expect ever to see the country freed from this gigantic evil.
It must not be supposed that these seven debates were all of Mr. Lincoln's appearances before the people during the campaign. He made some fifty other