« PreviousContinue »
Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and vindicated this year by the refusal to bring Kansas into the Union with a Constitution distasteful to her people. (Cheers).
The other proposition discussed by Mr. Lincoln in his speech consists in a crusade against the Supreme Court of the United States on account of the Dred Scott decision. On this question, also, I desire to say to you, unequivocally, that I take direct and distinct issue with him. I have no warfare to make on the Supreme Court of the United States (Bravo), either on account of that or any other decision which they have pronounced from that bench. ("Good, good," and enthusiastic applause). The Constitution of the United States has provided that the powers of government (and the Constitution of each state has the same provision) shall be divided into three departments, executive, legislative, and judicial. The right and the province of expounding the Constitution, and constructing the law, is vested in the judiciary established by the Constitution. As a lawyer, I feel at liberty to appear before the court and controvert any principle of law while the question is pending before the tribunal; but when the decision is made, my private opinion, your opinion, all other opinions, must yield to the majesty of that authoritative adjudication. (Cries of "It is right," "Good, good," and cheers). I wish you to bear in mind that this involves a great principle, upon which our rights, and our liberty, and our property all depend. What security have you for your property, for your reputation, and for your personal rights, if the courts are not upheld, and their decisions respected when once firmly rendered by the highest tribunal known to the Constitution? (Cheers.) I do not choose, therefore, to go into any argument with Mr. Lincoln in reviewing the various decisions which the Supreme Court has made, either upon the Dred Scott case, or any other. I have no idea of appealing from the decision of the Supreme Court upon a constitutional question to the decision of a tumultuous town meeting. (Cheers.) I am aware that once an eminent lawyer of this city, now no more, said that the State of Illinois had the most perfect judicial system in the world, subject to but one exception, which could be cured by a slight amendment, and that amendment was to so change the law as to allow an appeal from the decisions of the Supreme Court of Illinois, on all constitutional questions, to two justices of the peace. (Great laughter and applause.) My friend Mr. Lincoln, who sits behind me, reminds me that that proposition was made when I was a judge of the Supreme Court. Be that as it may, I do not think that fact adds any greater weight or authority to the suggestion. (Renewed laughter and applause.) It matters not with me who was on the bench, whether Mr. Lincoln or myself, whether a Lockwood or a Smith, a Taney or a Marshall; the decision of the highest tribunal known to the Constitution of the country must be final until it has been reversed by an equally high authority. (Cries of "Bravo," and applause.) Hence I am opposed to this doctrine of Mr. Lincoln, by which he proposes to take an appeal from the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States upon these high constitutional questions to a Republican caucus sitting in the country. (A voice-"Call it Free-soil," and cheers.) Yes, or to any other caucus or town meeting, whether it be Republican, American, or Democratic. (Cheers.) I respect the decisions of that august tribunal; I shall always bow in deference to them. I am a lawabiding man. 1 will sustain the Constitution of my country as our fathers have made it. I will yield obedience to the laws, whether I like them or not, as I find them on the statute-book. I will sustain the judicial tribunals and constituted authorities in all matters within the pale of their jurisdiction, as defined by the Constitution. (Applause.) But I am equally free to say that the reason assigned by Mr. Lincoln for resisting the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case does not in itself meet my approbation. He objects to it because that decision declared that a negro descended from
African parents who were brought here and sold as slaves is not and can not be a citizen of the United States. He says it is wrong, because it deprives the negro of the benefits of that clause of the Constitution which says that citizens of one state shall enjoy all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several states; in other words, he thinks it wrong because it deprives the negro of the privileges, immunities, and rights of citizenship, which pertain, according to that decision, only to the white man. I am free to say to you that in my opinion this government of ours is founded on the white basis. (Great applause.) It was made by the white man for the benefit of the white man, to be administered by white men in such manner as they should determine. (Cheers.) It is also true that a negro, an Indian, or any other man of an inferior race to a white man, should be permitted to enjoy, and humanity requires that he should have, all the rights, privileges, and immunities which he is capable of exercising consistent with the safety of society. I would give him every right and every privilege which his capacity would enable him to enjoy, consistent with the good of the society in which he lived. ("Bravo.") But you may ask me what are these rights and these privileges. My answer is that each state must decide for itself the nature and extent of these rights. ("Hear, hear," and applause.) Illinois has decided for herself. We have decided that the negro shall not be a slave, and we have at the same time decided that he shall not vote, or serve on juries, or enjoy political privileges. I am content with that system of policy which we have adopted for ourselves. (Cheers.) I deny the right of any other state to complain of our policy in that respect, or to interfere with it, or to attempt to change it. On the other hand, the State of Maine has decided that in that state a negro may vote on an equality with the white man. sovereign power of Maine had the right to prescribe that rule for herself. Illinois has no right to complain of Maine for conferring the right of negro suffrage, nor has Maine any right to interfere with, or complain of Illinois because she has denied negro suffrage. ("That's so," and cheers.) The State of New York has decided by her Constitution that a negro may vote provided that he owns $250 worth of property, but not otherwise. The rich negro can vote, but the poor one can not. (Laughter.) Although that distinction does not commend itself to my judgment, yet I assert that the sovereign power of New York had a right to prescribe that form of the elective franchise. Kentucky, Virginia and other states, have provided that negroes, or a certain class of them in those states, shall be slaves, having neither civil or political rights. Without endorsing the wisdom of that decision, I assert that Virginia has the same power by virtue of her sovereignty to protect slavery within her limits as Illinois has to banish it forever from our own borders. ("Hear, hear," and applause.) I assert the right of each state to decide for itself on all these questions, and I do not subscribe to the doctrine of my friend, Mr. Lincoln, that uniformity is either desirable or possible. I do not acknowledge that the states must all be free or must all be slave. I do not acknowledge that the negro must have civil and political rights everywhere or nowhere. I do not acknowledge that the Chinese must have the same rights in California that we would confer upon him here. I do not acknowledge that the cooley imported into this country must necessarily be put upon an equality with the white race. I do not acknowledge any of these doctrines of uniformity in the local and domestic regulations in the different states. ("Bravo," and cheers.)
Thus you see, my fellow-citizens, that the issues between Mr. Lincoln and myself, as respective candidates for the United States Senate, as made up, are direct, unequivocal, and irreconcilable. He goes for uniformity in our domestic institutions, for a war of sections, until one or the other shall be subdued. I go for the great principle of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, the right of the peo
ple to decide for themselves. (Senator Douglas was here interrupted by the wildest applause; cheer after cheer rent the air; the band struck up "Yankee Doodle;" rockets and pieces of fireworks blazed forth, and the enthusiasm was so intense and universal that it was some time before order could be restored and Mr. Douglas resume. The scene at this period was glorious beyond description.)
On the other point, Mr. Lincoln goes for a warfate upon the Supreme Court of the United States because of their judicial decision in the Dred Scott case. I yield obedience to the decisions of that court-to the final determination of the highest judicial tribunal known to our Constitution. He objects to the Dred Scott decision because it does not put the negro in the possession of the rights of citizenship on an equality with the white man. I am opposed to negro equality. (Immense applause.) I repeat that this nation is a white people-a people composed of European descendants-a people that have established this government for themselves and their posterity, and I am in favor of preserving not only the purity of the blood, but the purity of the government, from any mixture or amalgamation with inferior races. (Renewed applause.) I have seen the effects of this mixture of superior and inferior races-this amalgamation of white men and Indians and negroes; we have seen it in Mexico, in Central America, in South America, and in all the Spanish-American states, and its result has been degeneration, demoralization, and degradation below the capacity for self-government. ("True, true.")
I am opposed to taking any step that recognizes the negro man or the Indian as the equal of the white man. I am opposed to giving him a voice in the administration of the government. I would extend to the negro, and the Indian, and to all dependent races, every right, every privilege, and every immunity consistent with the safety and welfare of the white races (bravo); but equality they never should have, either political or social, or in any other respect whatever. (Cries of "Good," "good," and protracted cheers.)
My friends, you see that the issues are distinctly drawn. I stand by the same platform that I have so often proclaimed to you and to the people of Illinois heretofore. (Cries of "That's true," and applause.) I stand by the Democratic organization, yield obedience to its usages, and support its regular nominations. (Intense enthusiasm.) I indorse and approve the Cincinnati platform (renewed applause), and I adhere to and intend to carry out, as part of that platform, the great principle of self-government, which recognizes the right of the people in each state and territory to decide for themselves their domestic institutions. ("Good," "good," and cheers.) In other words, if the Lecompton issue shall arise again, you have only to turn back and see where you have found me during the last six months, and then rest assured that you will find me in the same position, battling for the same principle, and vindicating it from assault from whatever quarter it may come, so long as I have the power to do it. (Cheers.)
Fellow-citizens, you now have before you the outlines of the propositions which I intend to discuss before the people of Illinois during the pending campaign. I have spoken without preparation, and in a very desultory manner, and may have omitted some points which I desired to discuss, and may have been less implicit on others than I could have wished. I have made up my mind to appeal to the people against the combination which has been made against me. (Enthusiastic applause.) The Republican leaders have formed an alliance—an unholy, unnatural alliance-with a portion of the unscrupulous federal office-holders. I intend to fight that allied army wherever I meet them. (Cheers.) I know they deny the alliance while avowing the common purpose, but yet these men who are trying to divide the Democratic party for the purpose of electing a Republican senator in my place are just as much the agents, the tools, the supporters of Mr. Lincoln as if they were avowed Republicans,
and expect their reward for their services when the Republicans come into power. (Cries of "That is true," and cheers.) I shall deal with these allied forces just as the Russians dealt with the allies at Sebastopol. The Russians, when they fired a broadside at the common enemy, did not stop to inquire, whether it hit a Frenchman, an Englishman, or a Turk, nor will I stop (Laughter and great applause); nor shall I stop to inquire whether my blows hit the Republican leaders or their allies, who are holding the federal offices, and yet acting in concert with the Republicans to defeat the Democratic party and its nominees. (Cheers, and cries of "Bravo!") I do not include all of the federal office-holders in this remark. Such of them as are Democracts, and show their Democracy by remaining inside of the Democratic organization and supporting its nominees, I recognize as Democrats; but those who, having been defeated inside of the organization, go outside, and attempt to divide and destroy the party in concert with the Republican leaders, have ceased to be Democracts, and belong to the allied army, whose avowed object is to elect the Republican ticket by dividing and destroying the Democratic party. (Cheers.)
My friends, I have exhausted myself (cries of "Don't stop yet), and I certainly have fatigued you ("No, no," and "Go on") in the long and desultory remarks which I have made. ("Go on longer," "We want to hear you,' etc.) It is now two nights since I have been to bed, and I think I have a right to a little sleep. (Cheers, and a voice-"May you sleep soundly.") I will, however, have an opportunity of meeting you face to face, and addressing you on more than one occasion before the November election. (Cries of "We hope so," etc.) In conclusion, I must again say to you, justice to my own feelings demands it, that my gratitude for the welcome you have extended to me on this occasion knows no bounds, and can be described by no language which I can command. (Cries of "We did our duty," and cheers.) I see that I am literally at home when among my constituents. (Cries of "Welcome ""You have done your duty," home," Good," etc.) This welcome has amply repaid me for every effort that I have made in the public service during nearly twenty-five years that I have held office at your hands. (Cheers; a voice"You will hold it longer.") It not only compensates me for the past, but it furnishes an inducement and incentive for future effort, which no man, no matter how patriotic, can feel who has not witnessed the magnificent reception you have extended to me to-night on my return.
At the conclusion of the remarks of Judge Douglas there was a spontaneous outburst of enthusiastic admiration. Cheers upon cheers followed, and the dense masses who had stood so long in solid ranks refused to separate, but continued for some time in vociferous applause.
Then followed another discharge of elegant fireworks. One piece, situated at the northwest corner of Dearborne and Lake Streets, was soon in a blaze, and as the fire ran from point to point on its surface, there was gradutally revealed, in letters of dazzling and sparkling light, the glorious motto "POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY." This handsome and appropriate display renewed the enthusiasm of the multitude, and for more than an hour thousands of our people surrounded the hotel, cheering Douglas, Popular Sovereignty, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
MR. LINCOLN addressed a Republican meeting at the same place on the next evening, and the active campaign had now been formally opened. The Republican leaders were sanguine of success. They became extravagantly delighted with the Danites. On the 14th of July the leading Republican paper of Chicago addressed words of strong encouragement to that faction. It affected a fear of its strength, and had the effrontery to tell its readers that Douglas and his party were a mere handful and that the real party with whom the Republicans would have to contend would be the Danites.
It may not be out of place here to remark that as nearly as could be estimated by those not within the inner circles of Republican councils, there was about sixty thousand dollars of Republican money, besides considerable self respect recklessly sacrificed during that year in keeping the Danite party on its legs. It was an expensive item in the cost of the election, and we doubt very much if the organization and opposition of that faction did not give the Democratic party additional strength by enlisting the timid and negligent in the cause which was so fearfully threatened by the allies.
On the night of the 15th Judge Douglas was visited by a delegation of the German Democrats of Chicago-than whom a nobler band of patriots does not exist in the Union. It is true they form but a small portion of the German population of Chicago, but they are men of intelligence, education and experience. They understand the true principles of American freedom, and the Constitution has no more devoted supporters in the state. The speeches on the occasion were most happy.
On the morning of the 16th Judge Douglas left Chicago on his way to Springfield to meet the Democratic State Committee. The object and intention of his visit were well known. All along the road at every station he was greeted with all possible demonstrations of welcome. At Bloomington, where he arrived in the afternoon, he was met by a vast concourse of