« AnteriorContinuar »
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 question. I 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.
This had an important bearing on one objection upon which Douglas based his Anti-Lecompton rebellion.
The fifth joint discussion was held at Galesburg, the sixth at Quincy, and the last at Alton. The main topics and methods. of these debates, as of the rest, did not substantially differ from those of the speeches at Chicago and Springfield.
The Alton debate occurred on the 15th of October. As the day of the election (November 2d) approached, it became more and more evident that strong efforts were making, aided by the advice of Senator Crittenden on the one hand, and of VicePresident Breckinridge on the other, to secure a diversion of "Conservative" votes-American, Democratic, and Whig-in the central and southern parts of the State, in favor of Douglas. These endeavors succeeded to such an extent that, with the immense advantages the Douglas party had in their unequal and utterly unfair apportionment of Legislative Districts, and in the lucky proportion of Democratic Senators holding over, they secured a small majority in each branch of the new Legislature. The Senate had 14 Democrats and 11 Republicansthe House 40 Democrats and 35 Republicans. The popular
voice was for Lincoln, by more than four thousand majority, over Douglas.
Admiration of the manly bearing and gallant conduct of Mr. Lincoln, throughout this campaign, which had early assumed a national importance, led to the spontaneous suggestion of his name, in various parts of the country, as a candidate for the Presidency. From the beginning to the end of the contest, he had proved himself an able statesman, an effective orator, a true gentleman, and an honest man. While, therefore, Douglas was returned to the Senate, there was a general presentiment that a juster verdict was yet to be had, and that Mr. Lincoln and his cause would be ultimately vindicated before the people. That time was to come, even sooner, perhaps, than his friends, in their momentary despondency, expected. From that hour to the present, the fame of Abraham Lincoln has been enlarging and ripening, and the love of his noble character has become more and more deeply fixed in the popular heart.
SPEECHES OF 1859-'60.
Mr. Lincoln in Ohio.-His Speech at Columbus.-Denial of the Negro Suffrage Charge.-Troubles of Douglas with His "Great Principle."-Territories Not States.-Doctrines of the Fathers.-His Cincinnati Speech."Shooting Over the Line."-What the Republicans Mean to Do.-Plain Questions to the Democracy.—The People Above Courts and Congress.-Uniting the Opposition.-Eastern Tour.The Cooper Institute Speech.-Mr. Bryant's Introduction.--What the Fathers Held.-What will Satisfy the Southern Democracy?— Counsels to the Republicans.-Mr. Lincoln Among the Children.
DURING the year following his great contest with Douglas, which had resulted in a barren triumph through the injustice of the previous Democratic Legislature in refusing a fair and equal apportionment, Mr. Lincoln again gave himself almost exclusively to professional labors. During the autumn campaign of 1859, however, when Douglas visited Ohio, and endeavored to turn the tide of battle in favor of the Democracy in that State, so as to secure the re-election of Mr. Pugh, and to gain other partisan benefits, an earnest invitation was sent to Lincoln to assist the Republicans in their canvass. He complied, and delivered two most effective speeches in Ohio, one at Columbus, and the other at Cincinnati.
In his speech at the former place (September 16, 1859), he began by noticing a statement which he read from the central Democratic organ, averring that in the canvass of the previous year with Douglas, "Mr. Lincoln declared in favor of negro suffrage. This charge he quickly disposed of, showing by quotations from his printed speeches of that canvass, that be