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ing, by ingenious but sophistical addresses to the people to avert the impending revolution. Mr. Lincoln met him in debate at Springfield, during the time of the State Fair, early in October, 1854, and the encounter was a memorable one in the great campaign then in progress. They met a few days later at Peoria, where Mr. Douglas had no better fortune. Subsequently to that encounter, he showed a decided preference for speaking at other times and places than Mr. Lincoln did.
The Anti-Nebraska organization, formed at Springfield in October of that year, and embracing men of all parties opposed to the ill-judged measures which had introduced the most violent agitation in regard to slavery ever known in the country, was the beginning from which the Republican party in Illinois was to be matured. Among the resolutions at that time adopted, after setting forth in a preamble that a majority of Congress bad deliberately and wantonly re-opened the controversy respecting the extension of slavery under our national jurisdiction, which a majority of the people had understood to be closed forever by the successive compromises of 1820 and 1850, were the following:
Resolved, That the doctrine affirmed by the Nebraska Bill, and gilded over by its advocates, with the specious phrases of non-intervention and popular sovereignty, is really and clearly a complete surrender of all the ground hitherto asserted and maintained by the Federal Government, with respect to the limitation of slavery, is a plain confession of the right of the slaveholder to transfer his human chattels to any part of the public domain, and there hold them as slaves as long as inclination or interest may dictate; and that this is an attempt totally to reverse the doctrine hitherto uniformly held by statesmen and jurists, that slavery is the creature of local and State law, and to make it a national institution.
Resolved, That as freedom is national, and slavery sectional and local, the absence of all law upon the subject of slavery presumes the existence of a state of freedom alone, while slavery exists only by virtue of positive law.
Resolved, That we heartily approve the course of the freemen of Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, New York, Michigan and Maine, postponing or disregarding their minor differences of opinion or preferences, and acting together cordially and trustingly in the same cause of frecdom,
of free labor, and free soil, and we commend their spirit to the freemen of this and other States, exhorting each to renounce his party whenever and wherever that party proves unfaithful to human freedom.
In behalf of these principles, Mr. Lincoln had already taken the stump, and for them he did valiant service in various parts of the State.
This new party was organized late in the season, and the canvass for Treasurer, the only State officer to be elected, was but imperfectly made. In some parts of the State, there was even no distribution of tickets containing the name of this candidate. The result, even under these unfavorable circumstances, and in spite of the overwhelming Democratic preponderance during the previous twenty-five years, was extremely close, and for a long time doubtful. The Democratic candidate barely escaped defeat. This was the last election in which the party sustaining Douglas has had even the appearance of a majority in Illinois. The revolution was now substantially accomplished. From that day to the present, the Republican party has been steadily gaining in strength, and that opposed to it sinking more and more into a hopeless minority. Even the temporary reaction, under the Anti-Lecompton flag, was more apparent than real.
Of the nine Congressional Districts, the Opposition now, for the first time, carried a majority, electing five members, and the Democrats four. The Legislature would have been completely revolutionized, in both branches, with little doubt, but for the large number of Democrats "holding over," as members of the new Senate. In the House, the Anti-Nebraska representatives numbered forty, and the Democratic thirtyfive. In the Senate, there were seventeen elected as Democrats, and eight as Opposition men. Of the former, however, there were three, elected two years previously, who repudiated Douglas and his policy, and inclined to the Opposition. These were Norman B. Judd, J. M. Palmer, and B. C. Cook, Reckoning these with the Anti-Nebraska side, the Senate stood, Opposition eleven, Democrats fourteen-leaving a
majority against the Douglas Democracy of two on joint ballot.
A United States Senator, to succeed Gen. Shields on the 4th of March, 1855, was to be chosen by this Legislature. For the first time in the history of Illinois, the election of an Anti-Democratic Senator was within the reach of possibility. Mr. Lincoln was the first choice of the great mass of the Opposition for this position. From his prominence, for a long time, in the old Whig party, it was but natural that a portion of the members having Democratic antecedents who had come into the new organization, should hesitate to give Mr. Lincolo their votes. This was especially true of the three Senators above named as holding over, they having been elected as regular Democrats. Under this state of things, it was manifest, after a few ballots, that, with the close vote in joint convention the election of a Democrat, not to be certainly relied on as an opponent of the Douglas policy, and at best uncommitted in regard to the new party organization might be the result of adhering to Mr. Lincoln. Hc, accordingly, with the self-sacrificing disposition which had always characterized him, promptly appealed to his Whig friends to go over in a solid body to Mr. Trumbull, a man of Democratic antecedents, who could command the full vote of the Anti-Nebraska Democrats. By these earnest and disinterested efforts, the difficult task was accomplished, great as was the sacrifice of personal feeling which it cost the devoted friends of Mr. Lincoln. On the part of himself and them, it involved the exercise of a degree of self-denial and magnanimity, as rare as it was noble. It demonstrated their honest attachment to the great cause for which old party lines had been abandoned, and their sincere purpose of thoroughly ignoring all differences founded on mere partisan prejudice. It cemented the union of these Anti-Nebraka elements, and consolidated the new organization into a permanent party.
The joint convention for electing a United States Senator met on the 8th day of February, 1855. On the first ballot, James Shields, then Senator, who had been induced by Douglas, against his own better judgment, to vote for the
Kansas-Nebraska bill, received 41 votes, and three other Democrats had one vote each. Abraham Lincoln had 45 votes, Lyman Trumbull 5, Mr. Koerner 2, and there were three other scattering votes. On the seventh ballot, the Democratic vote was concentrated upon Gov. Matteson, with two exceptions, and he received also the votes of two AntiNebraska Democrats, making 44 in all. On the tenth ballot, Mr. Trumbull was elected, in the way just explained, receiving 51 votes, and Mr. Matteson 47. Every Whig vote but one was given to Mr. Trumbull.
Among the speeches delivered by Mr. Lincoln in this memorable campaign, which gave „the Republicans an able Senator from Illinois, and which effectually accomplished the overthrow of the Democracy in that State, perhaps the ablest and most characteristic was the one delivered at Peoria, important portions of which were quoted by him in the canvass with Douglas, four years later. The following detached passages of this speech are specially memorable:
This declared indifference, but as I must think real zeal for the spread of slavery, I can not but hate. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself; I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world; enables the enemies of free institutions with plausibility to taunt us as hypocrites; causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity; and especially because it forces 80 many really good men among ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty, criticising the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.
When the Southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery, than we are, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists, and that it is very difficult to get rid of it in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself. If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution.
When the white man governs himself, that is, self-government; but when he governs himself, and also governs another man, that is more than self-government—that is despotism. If the negro is a man, why, then my ancient faith teaches me that "all men are created equal;” and that there can be no moral
right in connection with one man's making a slave of an. other.
Slave States are places for poor white people to remove from, not to remove to; new free States are the places for poor people to go to and better their condition. For this use, the nation Deeds these territories.
Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man's nature-opposition to it, in his love of justice.
In our greedy chase to make profit of the negro; let us beware lest we "cancel and tear to pieces" even the white man's charter of freedom.
Some men, mostly Whigs, who condemn the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, nevertheless hesitate to go for its restoration, lest they be thrown in company with the Abolitionist. Will they allow me, as an old Whig, to tell them, good-humoredly, that I think this is very silly? Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.
Little by little, but steadily as man's march to the grave, we have been giving up the old for the new faith. Near eighty years ago we began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now from that beginning we have run down to the other declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a “sacred right of self-government." These principles can not stand together. They are as opposite as God and Mammon; and whoever holds to one must despise the other.
In the course of my main argument, Judge Douglas interrupted me to say that the principle of the Nebraska bill was very old ; that it originated when God made man, and placed good and evil before him, allowing him to choose for himself, being responsible for the choice he should make. At the time, I thought this was merely playful; and I answered it accordingly. But in his reply to me, he renewed it as a serious argument. In seriousness, then, the facts of this proposition are not true, as stated. God did not place good and evil before man, telling bim to make his choice. On the contrary, He did tell him there was one tree, of the fruit of which he should not eat, upon pain of certain death. I should scarcely wish so strong a prohibition against slavery in Nebraska.