Page images

therefore, all his utterances concerning the colored race, their bondage

their emancipation, can be readily adjusted.



“In those days, our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all, and thought to include all ; but now, to aid in making the bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed, sneered at, construed, hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it. All the powers of the earth seem rapidly combining against him. Mammon is after him; ambition follows; philosophy follows; and the theology of the day is fast joining the cry. They have him in his prison-house; they have searched his person and left no prying instrument with him. One after another, they have closed the heavy iron doors upon him; and now they have him, as it were, bolted in, with a lock of a hundred keys, which can never be unlocked without the consent of every key ; the keys in the hands of a hundred different men, and they scattered to a hundred different and distant places; and they stand musing as to what invention, in all the dominions of mind and matter, can be produced to make the impossibility of his escape more complete than it is.”


“We have in this nation this element of domestic slavery. It is an absolute certainty that it is a disturbing element. It is the opinion of all the great men who have expressed an opinion upon it, that it is a dangerous element.

We keep up a controversy in regard to it. That controversy necessarily springs from difference of opinion, and it we can learn exactly-can reduce to the lowest elements—what that difference of opinion is, we shall be better prepared for discussing the different systems of policy that we would propose in regard to that disturbing element. I suggest that the difference of opinion, reduced to its lowest terms, is no other than the difference between the men who think slavery a wrong and those who do not think it wrong."


“ The doctrine of self-government is right,-absolutely and eternally right,,but it has no just application as here attempted. Or perhaps I should rather say that whether it has such just application, depends upon whether a negro is not, or is a man. If he is not a man, in that case he who is a man may as a matter of self-government do just what he pleases with him.

But if the negro is a man, is it not to that extent a total destruction of self-government to say that he too shall not govern himself? When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is despotism."

SPEECH AT SPRINGFIELD, 1858. “I hold that notwithstanding all this there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white

I agree with Judge Douglas that he is not my equal, in many


respects,-certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectua! endowment; but in the right to eat the bread without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal, and the equal of "Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man."

SPEECH, 1858.

“I do not mean to say that when it (slavery) takes a turn toward ultimate extinction, it will be in a day, nor in a year, nor in two years. I do not suppose that in the most peaceful way ultimate extinction would occur in less than a hundred years at least'; but that it will occur in the best way for both races, in God's own good time, I have no doubt.”

« PreviousContinue »