« AnteriorContinuar »
but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis small have been reached and passed. "A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall beconio alike lawful in all the states, old as well as new, north as well us south.
[In the same speech, Mr. Lincoln said that the doctrine of "Squatter Sovereignty,” otherwiss
Řnown, that may strike home to the minds of men, in order to rouse them to the peril of the times. I would rather be defeated with this expression in the speech, and it held up and discussed before the people, than to be victorious without it."
Mr. Lincoln was not elected senator. In the summer of 1859, at a party of friends, the subject of this speech was discussed. “We all insisted,” says Mr. Swett, who was one of the company, “ that it was a great mistake,” losing him his election. “Well, gentlemen,” replied Mr. Lincoln, "you may think that speech was a mistake; but I never have believed it was, and you will see the day when you will consider it was the nicest thing I ever said." - Sce LAMON's Life of Lincoln.
called " sacred right of self-government,” as expressed in the "Nebraska Bill,” by which the right of a slaveholder to hold slaves in any territory or state, was affirmed, amounted to this :) — " That if any one man chose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed to object.”
[From a Speech in reply to Mr. Douglas, July 10, 1858.]
We are now a mighty nation ; we are thirty, or about thirty millions of people, and we own and inhabit about one-fifteenth part of the dry land of the whole earth. We run our memory back over the pages of history for about eighty-two years, and we discover that we were then a very small people in point of numbers, vastly inferior to what we are now, with a vastly less extent of country, with vastly less of everything we deem desirable among men, — we look upon the change as extremely advantageous to us, and to our posterity, and we fix upon something that happened away back, as in some way or other being connected with this rise of prosperity. We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers; they were iron men; they fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understood that by what they then did it has followed that the degree of prosperity which we now enjoy has come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves of all the good done in this process of time, of how it was done, and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it; and we go from these meetings in better humor with ourselves ; we feel more attached the one to the other, and more firmly bound to the country we inbabit. In every way we are better men in the age, and race, and country in which we live, for these celebrations.
But after we have done all this we have not yet reached the whole. ... We have besides these descended by blood from our ancestors, men among us, perhaps half our people, who are not descendants at all of these men; they are men who have come from Europe, — German, Irish, French, and Scandinavian, --men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through their history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none; they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch, and make themselves feel that they are part of us; but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence, they find that those old men say that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” etc., and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of
all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that declaration; and so they are. That is the electric cord in that declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.
Those arguments that are made, that the inferior race are to be treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoying; that as much is to be done for them as their condition will allow. What are these arguments? They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the peoplo in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden. That is their argument, and this argument of the judge is the same old serpent that says, You work, and I eat; you toil, and I will enjoy the fruits of it. Turn it whatever way you will, whether it come from the mouth of a king, an excuse for enslaving the people of his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another race, it is all the same old serpent, and I hold if that course of argumentation that is made
for the purpose of convincing the public mind that we should not care about this, should be granted, it does not stop with the negro. I should like to know, taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle, and making exceptions to it, where will it
If one man says it does not mean the negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man? If that declaration is not the truth, let us get the statute book in which we find it and tear it out! Who is so bold as to do it! If it is not true, let us tear it out! [Cries of " No, no !”] Let us stick to it, then ; let us stand firmly by it, then.
[From a letter to Mr. Speed, August 24, 1858.] Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal.” We now practically read it, " All men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-nothings get control it will read, "All men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty; to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.