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dent on a platform which declared that it was "both the part of patriotism and of duty to recognize no political principle other than the Constitution of the country, the union of the States, and the enforcement of the laws." It was generally recognized that the new party would cut a small figure in the election. Thaddeus Stevens [Pa.] wittily characterized the convention as a "family party, and all there." However, events so shaped themselves that, with less than half the popular votes of the Douglas ticket, the Bell-Everett ticket polled more than three times the number of its electoral votes.


It was generally expected that Senator William H. Seward [N. Y.] would be the presidential nominee of the Republican Convention. However, there was a growing desire in the Republican party, even in Seward's own State, to select a candidate who would not be handicapped by the antagonism which the promulgator of the "higher law" had aroused among the more moderate element in the North, without whose votes the nominee of the convention could hardly expect election even in view of the division in the Democratic party.

Among the presidential "dark horses" there began to loom that astute yet self-sacrificing Illinois lawyer who had done more than any other Republican to divide the Democratic party by forcing its coming presidential candidate to take a position whereby he would retain his place in the Senate and the leadership of the Northern section of his party only at the sacrifice of Southern support.

Therefore, when the Republican leaders of New York City learned that Abraham Lincoln had accepted the invitation of the Young Men's Republican Club of Brooklyn to deliver an address in Plymouth Church (of which the Abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher was pastor) they secured a change of the place of speaking to a more public and less radical forum-Cooper Union in New York City, in order that they might endorse the meeting by their attendance.

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Lincoln had chosen as his theme "Slavery as the Fathers Viewed It," and, carefully preparing the speech by studying "Elliott's Debates," he had written it out in full.

When on February 27, 1860, he stepped upon the large platform of Cooper Union, he found himself surrounded by every Republican leader of New York and Brooklyn, and facing an audience which filled every seat

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and crowded the aisles. After a most complimentary introduction by William Cullen Bryant, the editor of the New York Evening Post, he proceeded to deliver what is generally conceded to be the most conclusive argument that had ever been presented against the thesis of the Northern Democrats in general and Senator Douglas in particular, that the founders of the nation intended that the Federal Government should have no control over slavery in the Territories.

Says Henry C. Whitney, the friend and biographer of Lincoln:

This great speech is worthy of study. It was the last elaborate speech he ever made. In it he departed somewhat from his former style. The close political student will notice a system, formalism, precision, and rigidity of logic not apparent in former speeches; a terseness and vigor of language of greater emphasis than was before known; an absolute pruning of all redundancies, both in thought and in expression. It was a massive structure of unhewn logic, without an interstice or flaw. Singular to say, the style, in some places, is almost precisely that of John C. Calhoun, yet the speech bears the same relation to the slavery issue, as it then presented itself, that Webster's reply to Hayne bore to "the Constitution and the Union" in 1830. It was a dignified, stately, solemn declaration of the concrete principles of liberty as they existed in the minds of the American people and as they would be enforced by them at the first opportunity.

It was a genuine revelation and surprise. The conservative Evening Post published the speech entire the next day by express order of its venerable editor, whose warmest commendation Lincoln also received. The entire press of the city eulogized it in the highest terms. On the last day of winter, in 1860, Mr. Lincoln awoke to find himself famous; on the first day of winter, in 1860, he was President-elect of this mighty nation.




'The facts with which I shall deal this evening are mainly old and familiar; nor is there anything new in the general use I shall make of them. If there shall be any novelty it will be in the mode of presenting the facts, and the inferences and observations following that presentation. In his speech last autumn at Columbus, Ohio, as reported in the New York Times, Senator Douglas said:

Our fathers, when they framed the government under which we live, understood this question just as well as, and even better than, we do now.


I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this disI so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and an agreed starting-point for a discussion between Republicans and that wing of the Democracy headed by Senator Douglas. It

simply leaves the inquiry: What was the understanding those fathers had of the question mentioned?

What is the frame of Government under which we live? The answer must be, "The Constitution of the United States." That Constitution consists of the original, framed in 1787, and under which the present Government first went into operation, and twelve subsequently framed amendments, the first ten of which were framed in 1789.

Who were our fathers that framed the Constitution? I suppose the "thirty-nine" who signed the original instrument may be fairly called our fathers who framed that part of the present Government. It is almost exactly true to say they framed it, and it is altogether true to say they fairly represented the opinion and sentiment of the whole nation at that time. Their names, being familiar to nearly all, and accessible to quite all, need not now be repeated.

I take these "thirty-nine," for the present, as being "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live." What is the question which, according to the text, those fathers understood "just as well, and even better, than we do now"?

It is this: Does the proper division of local from federal authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbid our Federal Government to control as to slavery in our Federal Territories?

Upon this Senator Douglas holds the affirmative, and Republicans the negative. This affirmation and denial form an issue; and this issue this question-is precisely what the text declares our fathers understood "better than we." Let us now inquire whether the "thirty-nine," or any of them, ever acted upon this question; and, if they did, how they acted upon it— how they expressed that better understanding. In 1784, three years before the Constitution, the United States then owning the Northwestern Territory, and no other, the Congress of the Confederation had before them the question of prohibiting slavery in that Territory,' and four of the "thirty-nine" who afterward framed the Constitution were in that Congress, and voted on that question. Of these, Roger Sherman, Thomas Mifflin, and Hugh Williamson voted for the prohibition, thus showing that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor anything else, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in Federal territory. The other of the four, James McHenry, voted against the prohibition, showing that for some cause he thought it improper to vote for it.

1 The bill was reported by Thomas Jefferson. It prohibited slavery after 1800 above the parallel of 31° north latitude. It failed to pass by one vote.

In 1787, still before the Constitution, but while the convention was in session framing it, and while the Northwestern Territory still was the only Territory owned by the United States, the same question of prohibiting slavery in the Territory again came before the Congress of the Confederation; and two more of the "thirty-nine" who afterward signed the Constitution were in that Congress, and voted on the question. They were William Blount and William Few; and they both voted for the prohibition-thus showing that in their understanding no line dividing local from Federal authority, nor anything else, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in Federal territory. This time the prohibition became a law, being part of what is now well known as the ordinance of '87.

The question of Federal control of slavery in the Territories seems not to have been directly before the convention which framed the original Constitution; and hence it is not recorded that the "thirty-nine," or any of them, while engaged on that instrument, expressed any opinion on that precise question.

In 1789, by the first Congress which sat under the Constitution, an act was passed to enforce the ordinance of '87, including the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory. The bill for this act was reported by one of the "thirty-nine"Thomas Fitzsimons, then a member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. It went through all its stages without a word of opposition, and finally passed both branches without ayes and nays, which is equivalent to a unanimous passage. In this Congress there were sixteen of the thirty-nine Fathers who framed the original Constitution. They were John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman, William S. Johnson, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, Thomas Fitzsimons, William Few, Abraham Baldwin, Rufus King, William Paterson, George Clymer, Richard Bassett, George Read, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carroll, and James Madison.

This shows that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from Federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, properly forbade Congress to prohibit slavery in the Federal territory; else both their fidelity to correct principle, and their oath to support the Constitution, would have constrained them to oppose the prohibition.

Again, George Washington, another of the "thirty-nine," was then President of the United States, and as such approved and signed the bill, thus completing its validity as a law, and thus showing that, in his understanding, no line dividing local from Federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, for

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