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with the manner in which he acquitted himself in this joint discussion. At each succeeding encounter of this sort, the impression was strengthened, throughout the country, that Mr. Lincoln was obtaining decided advantages over his opponent. At Freeport, he forced Douglas into an attempted reconciliation of the hitherto unexplained inconsistencies between his squatter sovereignty theory, and his support of the Dred Scott decision, which utterly excludes squatter sovereignty in practice. His "unfriendly legislation" device, on that occasion, cost Douglas the loss of the last possibility of any reconciliation with the Southern Democracy. While this answer, most unwillingly given, perhaps, yet announced with apparent alacrity, contributed something toward effecting his immediate temporary purpose, it undoubtedly destroyed all his remoter chances as the Presidential candidate of a united Democracy.
In the Ottawa debate, Mr. Douglas produced a series of "ultra" resolutions adopted at a small local convention held long before the Republican party was organized in that State, representing them as the platform adopted by "the first mass State Convention ever held in Illinois by the Republican party." On these resolutions, to which he assumed to believe that Mr. Lincoln was committed, Douglas based a series of interrogatories, which the former, after duly exposing the misrepresentation, frankly and very explicitly answered at Freeport, the scene of the second debate, as follows:
OPENING PASSAGES OF MR. LINCOLN'S FREEPORT SPEECH.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:-On Saturday last, Judge Douglas and myself first met in public discussion. He spoke one hour, I an hour and a half, and he replied for half an hour. The order is now reversed. I am to speak an hour, he an hour and a half, and then I am to reply for half an hour. I propose to devote myself during the first hour to the scope of what was brought within the range of his half-hour speech at Ottawa. Of course there was brought within the scope of that half-hour's speech something of his own opening speech. In the course of that opening argument, Judge Douglas proposed to me seven distinct interrogatories. In my speech of
an hour and a half, I attended to some other parts of his speech, and incidentally, as I thought, answered one of the interrogatories then. I then distinctly intimated to him that I would answer the rest of his interrogatories on condition only that he should agree to answer as many for me. He made no intimation at the time of the proposition, nor did he in his reply allude at all to that suggestion of mine. I do him no injustice in saying that he occupied at least half of his reply in dealing with me as though I had refused to answer his interrogatories. I now propose that I will answer any of the interrogatories, upon condition that he will answer questions from me not exceeding the same number. I give him an opportunity to respond. The Judge remains silent. I now say that I will answer his interrogatories, whether he answers mine or not [applause]; and that after I have done so, I shall propound mine to him. [Applause.]
I have supposed myself, since the organization of the Republican party at Bloomington, in May, 1856, bound as a party man by the platforms of the party, then and since. If in any interrogatories which I shall answer I go beyond the scope of what is within these platforms, it will be perceived that no one is responsible but myself.
Having said thus much, I will take up the Judge's interrogatories as I find them printed in the Chicago Times, and answer them seriatim. In order that there may be no mistake about it, I have copied the interrogatories in writing, and also my answers to them. The first one of these interrogatories is in these words:
Question 1. "I desire to know whether Lincoln to-day stands, as he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave law?"
Answer. I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave law.
Q. 2. "I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to-day, as he did in 1854, against the admission of any more slave States into the Union, even if the people want them ?"
A. I do not now, nor ever did, stand pledged against the admission of any more slave States into the Union.
Q. 3. "I want to know whether he stands pledged against the admission of a new State in the Union, with such a Constitution as the people of that State may see fit to make."
A. I do not stand pledged against the admission of a new State into the Union, with such a Constitution as the people of that State may see fit to make.
Q. 4. "I want to know whether he stands to-day pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia ?"
A. I do not stand to-day pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.
Q. 5. "I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to the prohibition of the slave-trade between the different States?" A. I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the slavetrade between the different States.
Q. 6. "I desire to know whether he stands pledged to prohibit slavery in all the Territories of the United States, North as well as South of the Missouri Compromise line?"
1. I am impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a belief in the right and duty of Congress to prohibit slavery in all the United States Territories. (Great applause.)
Q. 7. "I desire him to answer whether he is opposed to the acquisition of any new territory unless slavery is first prohibited therein ?"
A. I am not generally opposed to honest acquisition of territory; and, in any given case, I would or would not oppose such acquisition, accordingly as I might think such acquisition would or would not agitate the slavery question among ourselves.
Now, my friends, it will be perceived, upon an examination of these questions and answers, that so far I have only answered that I was not pledged to this, that or the other. The Judge has not framed his interrogatories to ask me any thing more than this, and I have answered in strict accordance with the interrogatories, and have answered truly that I am not pledged at all upon any of the points to which I have answered. But I am not disposed to hang upon the exact form of his interrogatory. I am rather disposed to take up at least some of these questions, and state what I really think upon them.
As to the first one, in regard to the Fugitive Slave law, I have never hesitated to say, and I do not now hesitate to say, that I think, under the Constitution of the United States, the people of the Southern States are entitled to a Congressional Slave law. Having said that, I have had nothing to say in regard to the existing Fugitive Slave law, further than that I think it should have been framed so as be free from some of the objections that pertain to it, without lessening its efficiency. And inasmuch as we are not now in an agitation in regard to an alteration or modification of that law, I would not be the man to introduce it as a new subject of agitation upon the general. question of slavery.
In regard to the other question, of whether I am pledged to the admission of any more slave States into the Union, I state to you very frankly that I would be exceedingly sorry
ever to be put in a position of having to pass upon that quesI should be exceedingly glad to know that there would never be another slave State admitted into the Union; but I must add, that if slavery shall be kept out of the Territories during the Territorial existence of any one given Territory, and then the people shall, having a fair chance and a clear field, when they come to adopt the Constitution, do such an extraordinary thing as to adopt a slave Constitution, uninfluenced by the actual presence of the institution among them, I see no alternative if we own the country, but to admit them into the Union. [Applause.]
The third interrogatory is answered by the answer to the second, it being, as I conceive, the same as the second.
The fourth one is in regard to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. In relation to that, I have my mind very distinctly made up. I should be exceedingly glad to see slavery abolished in the District of Columbia. I believe that Congress possesses the constitutional power to abolish it. Yet as a member of Congress, I should not, with my present views, be in favor of endeavoring to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, unless it would be upon these conditions: First, that the abolition should be gradual; second, that it should be on a vote of the majority of qualified voters in the District; and third, that compensation should be made to unwilling owners. With these three conditions, I confess I would be exceedingly glad to see Congress abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, and, in the language of Henry Clay, "sweep from our Capital that foul blot upon our nation."
In regard to the fifth interrogatory, I must say here, that as to the question of the abolition of the slave-trade between the different States, I can truly answer, as I have, that I am pledged to nothing about it. It is a subject to which I have not given that mature consideration that would make me feel authorized to state a position so as to hold myself entirely bound by it. In other words, that question has never been prominently enough before me to induce me to investigate whether we really have the constitutional power to do it. I could investigate it if I had sufficient time to bring myself to a conclusion upon that subject; but I have not done so, and I say so frankly to you here, and to Judge Douglas. I must say, however, that if I should be of opinion that Congress does possess the constitutional power to abolish slavetrading among the different States, I should still not be in favor of the exercise of that power, unless upon some conservative principle as I conceive it, akin to what I have said
in relation to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.
My answer as to whether I desire that slavery should be prohibited in all Territories of the United States, is full and explicit within itself, and can not be made clearer by any comments of mine. So I suppose in regard to the question whether I am opposed to the acquisition of any more territory unless slavery is first prohibited therein, my answer is such that I could add nothing by way of illustration, or making myself better understood, than the answer which I have placed in writing.
Now in all this, the Judge has me, and he has me on the record. I suppose he had flattered himself that I was really entertaining one set of opinions for one place, and another set for another place that I was afraid to say at one place what I uttered at another. What I am saying here, I suppose I say to a vast audience as strongly tending to Abolitionism as any audience in the State of Illinois, and I believe I am saying that which, if it would be offensive to any persons and render them enemies to myself, would be offensive to persons in this audience.
At Jonesboro, in the lower part of "Egypt," where their third debate was held, Douglas reiterated his often-refuted charges of ultraism against Lincoln, which the latter just as coolly and convincingly disposed of, as if there had been no unreasonable pertinacity in making unjust accusations against him. After bringing home the sin of re-opening agitation, to the door of Douglas, he proceeded to show as extravagant radicalism in the recorded professions of the Democracy as of any persons acting with the Republican party. He then completely riddled the "unfriendly legislation" theory of Douglas, exhibiting its utter inconsistency with fidelity to his constitutional oaths, so long as he indorsed the validity of the political dogmas of Judge Taney, in his Dred Scott opinion.
In the fourth debate, at Charleston, the attempts of Douglas to make capital out of the Mexican War question were appropriately disposed of. Here, also, Douglas was convicted, on conclusive testimony, of having stricken out of the Toombs' Kansas Bill a clause requiring the Constitution that should be formed under its provisions, to be submitted to the people.