« PreviousContinue »
held as slaves, or now owned by any person or persons now resident within said District, shall remain such at the will of their respective owners, their heirs or legal representatives : Pro. vided that such owner, or his legal representatives, may at any time receive from the Treasury of the United States the fuli value of his or her slave, of the class in this section mentioned, upon which such slave shall be forth with and forever free: And provided further, That the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of the Treasury, shall be a board for determining the value of such slaves as their owners desire to emancipate under this section, and whose duty it shall be to hold a session for the purpose on the first Monday of each calendar month, to receive all applications, and, on satisfactory evidence in each case that the person presented for valuation is a slave, and of the class in the section mentioned, and is owned by the applicant, shall value such slave at his or her full cash value, and give to the applicant an order on the Treasury for the amount, and also to such slave a certificate of freedom.
“ Sec. 5. That the municipal authorities of Washington and Georgetown, within their respective jurisdictional limits, are hereby empowered and required to provide active and efficient means to arrest and deliver up to their owners all fugitive slaves escaping into said District.
“ Sec. 6. That the elective officers within said District of Columbia are hereby empowered and required to open polls at all the usual places of holding elections, on the first Monday of April next, and receive the vote of every free white male citizen above the age of twenty-one years, having resided within said District for the period of one year or more next preceding the time of such voting for or against this act, to proceed in taking said votes in all respects not herein specified, as at elections under the municipal laws, and with as little delay as possible to transmit correct statements of the votes so cast to the President of the United States ; and it shall be the duty of the President to count such votes immediately, and if a majority of them be found to be for this act, to forthwith issue his proclamation giving notice of the fact; and this act shall only be in full force and effect on and after the day of such proclamation.
Sec. 7. That involuntary servitude for the punishment of crime, Whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall in nowise be prohibited by this act.
“ Sec. 8. That for all purposes of this act, the jurisdictional limits of Washington are extended to all parts of the District of Columbia not included within the present limits of Georgetown."
We have given a sufficient record of Mr. Lincoln's ser vices as a Representative in Congress, to show that in his numerous votes and remarks upon the slavery question, he was uniformly consistent, and a determined opponent to that peculiar institution which, Mr. Corwin truly remarked, was an exotic that blights with its shade the soil in which it is planted. He with almost equal determination opposed the annexation of Texas, and voted more than forty different times in favor of the Wilmot Proviso.
BECOMES A DELEGATE TO THE NATIONAL
CONVENTION OF 1348.
In the Whig National Convention of 1848, he was an active delegate, and earnestly advocated the selection of General Zachary Taylor as the nominee for the Presidency, and during the canvass which followed, he traversed the States of Indiana and Illinois, speaking in behalf of his favorite candidate and the choice of his party.
HE IS NOMINATED FOR UNITED STATES
SENATOR, BUT WITHDRAWS.
In 1849 he was a candidate before the Legislature of Illinois for United States Senator, but his political opponents being in the majority, General Shields was chosen. From that time until 1854, he confined himself almost exclusively to the practice of his profession, but in that year he again entered the political arena, and battled indefatigably in the celebrated campaign, which resulted in victory for the first time to the opposition of the Democratic party in Illinois, and gave that State a Republican Legislature, and sent Mr. Trumbull to the United States Senate. During the canvass, Mr. Lincoln was frequently brought into controversy upon the stand with Stephen A. Douglas, one of the discussions, that was held on the fourth of October, 1854, during the progress of the annual State Fair, being particularly remarkable as the great discussior of the campaign.
At the election of United States Senator, nine-tenths of the majority were Whigs and in favor of Mr. Lincoln, and the other tenth were Democrats, but not in favor of voting for a Whig, and for the purpose of securing the success of a man whom he knew was opposed to the Nebraska bil!, and thus preventing the election of a third person who had little or nothing in common with the Republican party, which was then in its conception, he entreated his friends to vote for Mr. Trumbull. Mr. Lincoln was subsequently offered the nomination for Governor of Illinois, but declined the honor in favor of Mr. Bissell; was also presented, but ineffectually, at the first Republican National Convention for Vice-President; and at the next Presidential election headed the Fremont electoral ticket, and labored industriously in support of that candidate.
AGAIN NOMINATED FOR THE SENATE HIS SPEECHES IN THE CELEBRATED LINCOLNDOUGLAS CAMPAIGN.
On the second of June, 1853, the Republican State Convention met at Springfield, and nominated Mr. Lincoln as their candidate for the United States Senate. At the close of their proceedings the honored recipient of their suffrage delivered a speech, which was a forcible exposition of the views and aims of the party of which he was to be the standard-bearer.
The contest which followed was one of the most exciting and remarkable ever witnessed in this country. Mr Stephen A. Douglas, his opponent, had few superiors as a political debater, and while he had made many enemies by his course upon the Nebraska bill, his personal popularity had been greatly increased by his independence, and by the opposition manifested to him by the Administration. His re-election, however, to the Senate would have been equivalent to an indorsement of his acts and
views by his Commonwealth, and at the same time would have promoted his prospects for the Presidential nomination. The Republicans, therefore, determined to defeat him if possible, and to increase the probabilities of uccess in the movement, selected Mr. Lincoln as the man who was most certain of securing the election. Illinois was stumped throughout its length and breadth by both candidates and their respective advocates, and the people of the entire country watched with interest the struggle. From county to county, township to township, and village to village, the two leaders travelled, frequently in the same car or carriage, and in the presence of immense crowds of men, women and children for the wives and daughters of the hardy yeomanry were naturally interested-face to face, these two opposing champions argued the important points of their political belief, and contended nobly for the mastery.
During the campaign, Mr. Lincoln paid the following tribute to the Declaration of Independence
“ These communities, (the thirteen colonies,) by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the world of men, .We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are born equal ; that they are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the race of men then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the furthest posterity. They created a beacon to guide their children and their children's children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths that when, in the distant future, some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that noue but rich men, or none but white men, or none but Anglo-Saxon while men, were entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence, and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began, so that truth, and justice and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.
Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines conflicting with the great landmarks of the Declaration of Independence; if you have listened to suggestions which would take away from its grandeur, and mutilate the fair symmetry of its proportions; if you have been inclined to believe that all men are not created equal in those inalienable rights enumerated by our chart of liberty, let me entreat you to come back-return to the fountain whose waters spring close by the blood of the Revolution. Think nothing of me, take no thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever, but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence.
You may do any thing with me you choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles. You may not only defeat me for the Senate, but you may take me and put me to death. While pretending no indifference to earthly honors, I do clain to be actuated in this contest by something higher than an anxiety for office. I charge you to drop every paltry and insignificant thought for any man's success. It is nothing ; I am nothing; Judge Douglas is nothing. But do not destroy that immortal emblem of humanity--the Declaration of American Independence.”
PEN-PORTRAITS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
As we have stated, the exciting struggle was watched with intense interest, not only by the members of the respective political parties of which the two orators were recognized leaders and champions, but by that portion of the different communities of the Union who do not generally trouble their minds with political contests. Copious extracts from the speeches of both Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas were published in the journals of the day, and criticisms of the orators and their discussions a ppeared in the leading magazines and newspapers.
From some of the latter we select the following, for the purpose of showing in what estimation the talents and