The Lincoln–Douglas debates of 1858
THE OTTAWA DEBATE
[Chicago Press and Tribune, August 18, 1858]
THE GREAT DEBATE AT OTTAWA
The first grand encounter between the champions of Slavery and Freedom,—Douglas and Lincoln,—takes place at Ottawa on Saturday-afternoon, Aug. 21st.
A special train will leave the Rock Island depot at 8 a. m., passing Blue Island at 8:45, Joliet at 9:55, Morris 10:50, and Ottawa at 11:45, which will give plenty of time for dinner, to arrange the preliminaries, and to prepare the polemic combatants for the contest. The train will leave Ottawa on its return at 6 p. m. and will be back in Chicago at 9:45.
Passengers will be carried the round trip for half-fare from all the stations above named. How big a crowd is going from this city? The Lincoln boys should be on hand.
[Chicago Press and Tribune, August 21, 1858]
ALL ABOARD FOR OTTAWA!
Special Despatch to Press and Tribune.
Ottawa, Aug. 20, 1858
Lincoln will take the Special Train from Chicago at Morris tomorrow morning. Please give notice to the public.
[Chicago Press and Tribune, August 21, 1858]
HO! FOR OTTAWA
The gallant Lincoln will enter the lists at Ottawa today, with Douglas. The meeting will be a memorable one, and the first of the present campaign.
A large delegation will be in attendance from this city, leaving here by the 8 a. m. train on the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad, returning this evening. Let there be a good attendance of our Republicans. The Press and Tribune of Monday will contain a full Phonographic verbatim report of the speeches of Lincoln and Douglas.
[Chicago Press and Tribune, August 23, 1858]
FIRST JOINT DEBATE
At two o'clock the multitude gathered in the public square, the sun shining down with great intensity, and the few trees affording but little shade. It would seem that the most exposed part of the city was selected for the speaking. After a long delay, the discussion was opened by Judge Douglas, who spoke as follows:
Mr. Douglas' Speech
Ladies and Gentlemen: I appear before you to-day for the purpose of discussing the leading political topics which now agitate the public mind. By an arrangement between Mr. Lincoln and myself, we are present here today for the purpose of having a joint discussion, as the representatives of the two great political parties of the State and Union, upon the principles in issue between those parties, and this vast concourse of people shows the deep feeling which pervades the public mind in regard to the questions dividing us.
Prior to 1854 this country was divided into two great political parties, known as the Whig and Democratic parties. Both were national and patriotic, advocating principles that were universal in their application. An Old Line Whig could proclaim his principles in Louisiana and Massachusetts alike. Whig principles had no boundary sectional line; they were not limited by the Ohio River, nor by the Potomac, nor by the line of the Free and Slave States; but applied and were proclaimed wherever the Constitution ruled or the American flag waved over the American soil. ["Hear him;" and three cheers.] So it was, and so it is with the great Democratic party, which, from the days of Jefferson until this period, has proven itself to be the historic party of this nation. While the Whig and Democratic parties differed in regard to a bank, the tariff, distribution, the specie circular,
PUBLIC SQUARE AT OTTAWA
The stand for the public speaking was erected in that part of the square shown in the foreground
and the sub-treasury, they agreed on the great slavery question which now agitates the Union. I say that the Whig party and the Democratic party agreed on this slavery question, while they differed on those matters of expediency to which I have referred. The Whig party and the Democratic party jointly adopted the Compromise measures of 1850 as the basis of a proper and just solution of this slavery question in all its forms. Clay was the great leader, with Webster on his right and Cass on his left, and sustained by the patriots in the Whig and Democratic ranks who had devised and enacted the Compromise measures of 1850.
In 1851 the Whig party and the Democratic party united in Illinois in adopting resolutions indorsing and approving the principles of the Compromise measures of 1850, as the proper adjustment of that question. In 1852, when the Whig party assembled in Convention at Baltimore for the purpose of nominating a candidate for the Presidency, the first thing it did was to declare the Compromise measures of 1850, in substance and in principle, a suitable adjustment of that question. [Here the speaker was interrupted by loud and long-continued applause.] My friends, silence will be more acceptable to me in the discussion of these questions than applause. I desire to address myself to your judgment, your understanding, and your consciences and not to your passions or your enthusiasm. When the Democratic Convention assembled in Baltimore in the same year, for the purpose of nominating a Democratic candidate for the Presidency, it also adopted the Compromise measures of 1850 as the basis of Democratic action. Thus you see that up to 1853-'54, the Whig party and the Democratic party both stood on the same platform with regard to the slavery question. That platform was the right of the people of each State and each Territory to decide their local and domestic institutions for themselves, subject only to the Federal Constitution.
During the session of Congress of 1853-'54, I introduced into the Senate of the United States a bill to organize the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska on that principle which had been adopted in the Compromise measures of 1850, approved by the Whig party and the Democratic party in Illinois in 1851, and indorsed by the Whig party and the Democratic party in National Convention in 1852. In order that there might be no misunderstanding in relation to the principle involved in the Kansas and Nebraska bill, I put forth the true intent and
meaning of the Act in these words: "It is the true intent and meaning of this Act not to legislate slavery into any State or Territory, or to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Federal Constitution." Thus you see that up to 1854, when the Kansas and Nebraska bill was brought into Congress for the purpose of carrying out the principles which both parties had up to that time indorsed and approved, there had been no division in this country in regard to that principle except the opposition of the Abolitionists. In the House of Representatives of the Illinois Legislature, upon a resolution asserting that principle, every Whig and every Democrat in the House voted in the affirmative, and only four men voted against it, and those four were Old Line Abolitionists. [Cheers.]
In 1854, Mr. Abraham Lincoln and Mr. Trumbull entered into an arrangement, one with the other, and each with his respective friends, to dissolve the old Whig party on the one hand, and to dissolve the old Democratic party on the other, and to connect the members of both into an Abolition party, under the name and disguise of a Republican party. [Laughter and cheers; "Hurrah for Douglas."] The terms of that arrangement between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Trumbull have been published to the world by Mr. Lincoln's special friend, James H. Matheny, Esq., and they were, that Lincoln should have Shield's place in the United States Senate, which was then about to become vacant, and that Trumbull should have my seat when my term expired. [Great laughter.] Lincoln went to work to Abolitionize the old Whig party all over the State, pretending that he was then as good a Whig as ever [laughter]; and Trumbull went to work in his part of the State preaching Abolitionism in its milder and lighter form, and trying to Abolitionize the Democratic party, and bring old Democrats handcuffed and bound hand and foot into the Abolition camp. ["Good," "hurrah for Douglas," and cheers.]
In pursuance of the arrangement, the parties met at Springfield in October, 1854, and proclaimed their new platform. Lincoln was to bring into the Abolition camp the Old Line Whigs, and transfer them over to Giddings, Chase, Fred Douglas, and Parson Lovejoy, who were ready to receive them and christen them in their new faith. [Laughter and cheers.] They laid down on that occasion a platform
for their new Republican party, which was to be thus constructed. I have the resolutions of their State Convention then held, which was the first mass State Convention ever held in Illinois by the Black Republican party, and I now hold them in my hands, and will read a part of them, and cause the others to be printed. Here are the most important and material resolutions of this Abolition platform—
"1. Resolved, That we believe this truth to be self-evident, that when parties become subversive of the ends for which they are established, or incapable of restoring the Government to the true principles of the Constitution, it is the right and duty of the people to dissolve the political bands by which they may have been connected therewith, and to organize new parties, upon such principles and with such views as the circumstances and exigencies of the nation may demand.
"2. Resolved, That the times imperatively demand the reorganization of parties, and, repudiating all previous party attachments, names, and predilections, we unite ourselves together in defense of the liberty and Constitution of the country, and will hereafter co-operate as the Republican party, pledged to the accomplishment of the following purposes: To bring the administration of the Government back to the control of first principles, to restore Nebraska and Kansas to the position of Free Territories, that, as the Constitution of the United States vests in the States, and not in Congress, the power to legislate for the extradition of fugitives from labor, to repeal and entirely abrogate the Fugitive-Slave law; to restrict slavery to those states in which it exists; to prohibit the admission of any more Slave States into the Union ; to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia; to exclude slavery from all the Territories over which the General Government has exclusive jurisdiction; and to resist the acquirement of any more Territories, unless the practice of slavery therein forever shall have been prohibited.
"3. Resolved, That in furtherance of these principles we will use such Constitutional and lawful means as shall seem best adapted to their accomplishment, and that we will support no man for office, under the General or State Government, who is not positively and fully committed to the support of these principles, and whose personal character and conduct is not a guarantee that he is reliable, and who shall not have abjured old party allegiance and ties."
[The resolutions as they were read were cheered throughout.]
Now, gentlemen, your Black Republicans have cheered every one of those propositions ["Good" and cheers,] and yet I venture to say that you cannot get Mr. Lincoln to come out and say that he is now in favor of each one of them. [Laughter and applause. "Hit him again."] That these propositions, one and all, constitute the platform of the Black Republican party of this day, I have no doubt; ["Good."]
and when you were not aware for what purpose I was reading them, your Black Republicans cheered them as good Black Republican doctrines. ["That's it," etc.] My object in reading these resolutions was to put the question to Abraham Lincoln this day, whether he now stands and will stand by each article in that creed and carry it out. ["Good," "Hit him again."] I desire to know whether Mr. Lincoln to-day stands, as he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive-Slave law. I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to-day, as he did in 1854, against the admission of any more Slave States into the Union, even if the people want them. I want to know whether he stands pledged against the admission of a new State into the Union with such a Constitution as the people of that State may see fit to make. ["That's it;" "put it at him."] I want to know whether he stands to-day pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to the prohibition of the slave trade between the different States. ["He does."] 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. ["Kansas too."] I desire him to answer whether he is opposed to the acquisition of any more territory, unless slavery is prohibited therein.
I want his answer to these questions. Your affirmative cheers in favor of this Abolition platform are not satisfactory. I ask Abraham Lincoln to answer these questions, in order that, when I trot him down to lower Egypt, I may put the same questions to him. [Enthusiastic applause.] My principles are the same everywhere, [Cheers, and "hark."] I can proclaim them alike in the North, the South, the East, and the West. My principles will apply wherever the Constitution prevails, and the American flag waves. ["Good," and applause.] I desire to know whether Mr. Lincoln's principles will bear transplanting from Ottawa to Jonesboro? I put these questions to him to-day distinctly, and ask an answer. I have a right to an answer. ["That's so;" "he can't dodge you," etc.], for I quote from the platform of the Republican party, made by himself and others at the time that party was formed, and the bargain made by Lincoln to dissolve and kill the old Whig party, and transfer its members,
bound hand and foot, to the Abolition party, under the direction of Giddings and Fred Douglas. [Cheers.]
In the remarks I have made on this platform, and the position of Mr. Lincoln upon it, I mean nothing personally disrespectful or unkind to that gentleman. I have known him for nearly twenty-five years. There were many points of sympathy between us when we first got acquainted. We were both comparatively boys, both struggling with poverty in a strange land. I was a school-teacher in the town of Winchester, and he a flourishing grocery-keeper in the town of Salem. [Applause and laughter.] He was more successful in his occupation than I was in mine, and hence more fortunate in this world's goods. Lincoln is one of those peculiar men who perform with admirable skill everything which they undertake. I made as good a school-teacher as I could, and when a cabinet-maker I made a good bedstead and tables, although my old boss said I succeeded better with bureaus and secretaries than with anything else; [cheers] but I believe that Lincoln was always more successful in business than I, for his business enabled him to get into the Legislature. I met him there, however, and had a sympathy with him, because of the up-hill struggle we both had in life. He was then just as good at telling an anecdote as now. ["No doubt."] He could beat any of the boys wrestling, or running a foot-race, in pitching quoits or tossing a copper; could ruin more liquor than all the boys of the town together; [uproarious laughter] and the dignity and impartiality with which he presided at a horse-race or fist-fight excited the admiration and won the praise of everybody that was present and participated. [Renewed laughter.] I sympathized with him because he was struggling with difficulties, and so was I. Mr. Lincoln served with me in the Legislature in 1836, when we both retired, and he subsided, or became submerged, and he was lost sight of as a pubhc man for some years. In 1846, when Wilmot introduced his celebrated proviso, and the Abolition tornado swept over the country, Lincoln again turned up as a member of Congress from the Sangamon district. I was then in the Senate of the United States, and was glad to welcome my old friend and companion. Whilst in Congress, he distinguished himself by his opposition to the Mexican war, taking the side of the common enemy against his own country; ["that's true"] and when he returned home he found that the indigna-
tion of the people followed him everywhere, and he was again submerged, or obliged to retire into private life, forgotten by his former friends. ["And will be again."] He came up again in 1854, just in time to make this Abolition or Black Republican platform, in company with Giddings, Lovejoy, Chase, and Fred Douglas, for the Republican party to stand upon. [Laughter, "Hit him again," etc.]
Trumbull, too, was one of our own contemporaries. He was born and raised in old Connecticut, was bred a Federalist, but, removing to Georgia, turned Nullifier when Nullification was popular, and as soon as he disposed of his clocks and wound up his business, migrated to Illinois, [laughter] turned politician and lawyer here, and made his appearance in 1841 as a member of the Legislature. He became noted as the author of the scheme to repudiate a large portion of the State debt of Illinois, which, if successful, would have brought infamy and disgrace upon the fair escutcheon of our glorious State. The odium attached to that measure consigned him to oblivion for a time. I helped to do it. I walked into a public meeting in the hall of the House of Representatives, and replied to his repudiating speeches, and resolutions were carried over his head denouncing repudiation, and asserting the moral and legal obligation of Illinois to pay every dollar of the debt she owed, and every bond that bore her seal. ["Good," and cheers.] Trumbull's malignity has followed me since I thus defeated his infamous scheme.
These two men having formed this combination to Abolitionize the old Whig party and the old Democratic party, and put themselves into the Senate of the United States, in pursuance of their bargain, are now carrying out that arrangement. Matheny states that Trumbull broke faith; that the bargain was that Lincoln should be the Senator in Shields's place, and Trumbull was to wait for mine; [laughter and cheers] and the story goes that Trumbull cheated Lincoln, having control of four or five Abolitionized Democrats who were holding over in the Senate; he would not let them vote for Lincoln, which obliged the rest of the Abolitionists to support him in order to secure an Abolition Senator. There are a number of authorities for the truth of this besides Matheny, and I supose that even Mr. Lincoln will not deny it. [Applause and laughter.]
Mr. Lincoln demands that he shall have the place intended for
Trumbull, as Trumbull cheated him and got his, and Trumbull is stumping the State traducing me for the purpose of securing the position for Lincoln, in order to quiet him. ["Lincoln can never get it."] It was in consequence of this arrangement that the Republican Convention was empanelled to instruct for Lincoln and nobody else, and it was on this account that they passed resolutions that he was their first, their last, and their only choice. Archy Williams was nowhere, Browning was nobody, Wentworth was not to be considered; they had no man in the Republican party for the place except Lincoln, for the reason that he demanded that they should carry out the arrangement. ["Hit him again."]
Having formed this new party for the benefit of deserters from Whiggery, and deserters from Democracy, and having laid down the Abolition platform which I have read, Lincoln now takes his stand and proclaims his Abolition doctrines. Let me read a part of them. In his speech at Springfield to the Convention which nominated him for the Senate, he said:—
"In my opinion it will not cease until a crisis shall 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 spead 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 become alike lawful in all the States,—old as well as new, North as well as South."
["Good," "good," and cheers.]
I am delighted to hear you Black Republicans say "good." [Laughter and cheers.] I have no doubt that doctrine expresses your sentiments ["Hit them again," "that's it."], and I will prove to you now, if you will listen to me, that it is revolutionary, and destructive of the existence of this Government. ["Hurrah for Douglas," "good," and cheers.] Mr. Lincoln, in the extract from which I have read, says that this Government cannot endure permanently in the same condition in which it was made by its framers,—divided into Free and Slave States. He says that it has existed for about seventy years thus divided, and yet he tells you that it cannot endure permanently on the same principles and in the same relative condition in which our fathers made it.
["Neither can it."] Why can it not exist divided into Free and Slave States? Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Jay, and the great men of that day, made this government divided into Free States and Slave States, and left each State perfectly free to do as it pleased on the subject of slavery. ["Right, right."] Why can it not exist on the same principles on which our fathers made it? ["It can."] They knew when they framed the Constitution that in a country as wide and broad as this, with such a variety of climate, production, and interest, the people necessarily required different laws and institutions in different localities. They knew that the laws and regulations which would suit the granite hills of New Hampshire would be unsuited to the rice plantations of South Carolina, ["Right, right."] and they therefore provided that each State should retain its own Legislature and its own sovereignty, with the full and complete power to do as it pleased within its own limits, in all that was local and not national. [Applause.]
One of the reserved rights of the States was the right to regulate the relations between master and servant, on the slavery question. At the time the Constitution was framed, there were thirteen States in the Union, twelve of which were slaveholding States and one a Free State. Suppose this doctrine of uniformity preached by Mr. Lincoln, that the States should all be Free or all be Slave had prevailed, and what would have been the result? Of course, the twelve slaveholding States would have overruled the one Free State, and slavery would have been fastened by a Constitutional provision on every inch of the American Republic, instead of being left, as our fathers wisely left it, to each State to decide for itself. ["Good, good," and "three cheers for Douglas."] Here I assert that uniformity in the local laws and institutions of the different States is neither possible or desirable. If uniformity had been adopted when the Government was established, it must inevitably have been the uniformity of slavery everywhere, or else the uniformity of negro citizenship and negro equality everywhere.
We are told by Lincoln that he is utterly opposed to the Dred Scott decision, and will not submit to it, for the reason that he says it deprives the negro of the rights and privileges of citizenship. [Laughter and applause.] That is the first and main reason which he assigns for his warfare on the Supreme Court of the United States and its decision. I ask you, are you in favor of conferring upon the negro the
rights and privileges of citizenship? ["No, no."] Do you desire to strike out of our State Constitution that clause which keeps slaves and free negroes out of the State, and allows the free negroes to flow in, ["Never."] and cover your prairies with black settlements? Do you desire to turn this beautiful State into a free negro colony, ["No, no."] in order that when Missouri abolishes slavery she can send one hundred thousand emancipated slaves into Illinois, to become citizens and voters, on an equality with yourselves? ["Never," "no."] If you desire negro citizenship, if you desire to allow them to come into the State and settle with the white man, if you desire them to vote on an equality with yourselves, and to make them eligible to office, to serve on juries, and to adjudge your rights, then support Mr. Lincoln and the Black Republican party, who are in favor of the citizenship of the negro. ["Never, never."] For one, I am opposed to negro citizenship in any and every form. [Cheers.] I believe this Government was made on the white basis. ["Good."] I believe it was made by white men, for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and I am in favor of confining citizenship to white men, men of European birth and descent, instead of conferring it upon negroes, Indians, and other inferior races. ["Good for you." "Douglas forever."]
Mr. Lincoln, following the example and lead of all the little Abolition orators, who go around and lecture in the basements of schools and churches, reads from the Declaration of Independence that all men were created equal, and then asks. How can you deprive a negro of that equality which God and the Declaration of Independence award to him? He and they maintain that negro equality is guaranteed by the laws of God, and that it is asserted in the Declaration of Independence. If they think so, of course they have a right to say so, and so vote. I do not question Mr. Lincoln's conscientious belief that the negro was made his equal, and hence is his brother; [laughter] but for my own part, I do not regard the negro as my equal, and positively deny that he is my brother, or any kin to me whatever. ["Never," "Hit him again," and cheers.] Lincoln has evidently learned by heart Parson Lovejoy's catechism. [Laughter and applause.] He can repeat it as well as Farnsworth, and he is worthy of a medal from Father Giddings and Fred Douglassfor his Abolitionism. [Laughter.] He holds that the negro was born his equal and yours, and that he
was endowed with equality by the Almighty, and that no human law can deprive him of these rights, which were guaranteed to him by the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.
Now I do not believe that the Almighty ever intended the negro to be the equal of the white man. ["Never, never."] If he did, he has been a long time demonstrating the fact. [Cheers.] For thousands of years the negro has been a race upon the earth, and during all that time, in all latitudes and climates, wherever he has wandered or been taken, he has been inferior to the race which he has there met. He belongs to an inferior race and must always occupy an inferior position. ["Good," "that's so," etc.] I do not hold that because the negro is our inferior that therefore he ought to be a slave. By no means can such a conclusion be drawn from what I have said. On the contrary, I hold that humanity and Christianity both require that the negro shall have and enjoy every right, every privilege, and every immunity consistent with the safety of the society in which he lives. ["That's so."] On that point, I presume, there can be no diversity of opinion. You and I are bound to extend to our inferior and dependent beings every right, every privilege, every facility and immunity consistent with the public good.
The question then arises. What rights and privileges are consistent with the public good? This is a question which each State and each Territory must decide for itself. Illinois has decided it for herself. We have provided that the negro shall not be a slave, and we have also provided that he shall not be a citizen, but protect him in his civil rights, in his life, his person and his property, only depriving him of all political rights whatsoever, and refusing to put him on an equality with the white man. ["Good."] That policy of Illinois is satisfactory to the Democratic party and to me; and if it were to the Republicans, there would then be no question upon the subject. But the Republicans say that he ought to be made a citizen, and when he becomes a citizen he becomes your equal, with all your rights and privileges. ["He never shall."] They assert the Dred Scott decision to be monstrous because it denies that the negro is or can be a citizen under the Constitution. Now, I hold that Illinois had a right to abolish and prohibit slavery as she did, and I hold that Kentucky has the same right to continue and protect slavery that Illinois had to abolish it. I hold that New York had as much right to abolish slavery as Virginia has to continue it, and that each and every State
of this Union is a sovereign power, with the right to do as it pleases upon this question of slavery, and upon all its domestic institutions.
Slavery is not the only question which comes up in this controversy. There is a far more important one to you, and that is. What shall be done with the free negro? We have settled the slavery question as far as we are concerned; we have prohibited it in Illinois forever; and in doing so, I think we have done wisely, and there is no man in the State who would be more strenuous in his opposition to the introduction of slavery than I would. [Cheers.] But when we settled it for ourselves we exhausted all our power over that subject. We have done our whole duty, and can do no more. We must leave each and every other State to decide for itself the same question. In relation to the policy to be pursued toward the free negroes, we have said that they shall not vote; whilst Maine, on the other hand, has said that they shall vote. Maine is a sovereign State, and has the power to regulate the qualifications of voters within her limits. I would never consent to confer the right of voting and of citizenship upon a negro; but still I am not going to quarrel with Maine for differing from me in opinion. Let Maine take care of her own negroes, and fix the qualifications of her own voters to suit herself, without interfering with Illinois, and Illinois will not interfere with Maine. So with the State of New York. She allows the negro to vote, provided he owns two hundred and fifty dollars' worth of property, but not otherwise. While I would not make any distinction whatever between a negro who held property and one who did not; yet if the sovereign State of New York chooses to make that distinction, it is her business and not mine, and I will not quarrel with her for it. She can do as she pleases on this question if she minds her own business, and we will do the same thing.
Now, my friends, if we will only act conscientiously and rigidly upon this great principle of popular sovereignty, which guarantees to each State and Territory the right to do as it pleases on all things, local and domestic, instead of Congress interfering, we will continue at peace one with another. Why should Illinois be at war with Missouri, or Kentucky with Ohio, or Virginia with New York, merely because their institutions differ? Our fathers intended that our institutions should differ. They knew that the North and the South, having different climates, productions, and interests, required different institutions.
This doctrine of Mr. Lincoln of uniformity among the institutions of the different states, is a new doctrine, never dreamed of by Washington, Madison, or the framers of this Government. Mr. Lincoln and the Republican party set themselves up as wiser than these men who made this Government, which has flourished for seventy years under the principle of popular sovereignty, recognizing the right of each State to do as it pleased. Under that principle, we have grown from a nation of three or four millions to a nation of about thirty millions of people; we have crossed the Alleghany mountains and filled up the whole Northwest, turning the prairie into a garden, and building up churches and schools, thus spreading civilization and Christianity where before there was nothing but savage barbarism. Under that principle we have become, from a feeble nation, the most powerful on the face of the earth; and if we only adhere to that principle, we can go forward increasing in territory, in power, in strength, and in glory until the Republic of America shall be the North Star that shall guide the friends of freedom throughout the civilized world. ["Long may you live," and great applause.]
And why can we not adhere to the great principle of self-government, upon which our institutions were originally based? ["We can."] I believe that this new doctrine preached by Mr. Lincoln and his party will dissolve the Union if it succeeds. They are trying to array all the Northern States in one body against the South, to excite a sectional war between the Free States and the Slave States, in order that the one or the other may be driven to the wall.
I am told that my time is out. Mr. Lincoln will now address you for an hour and a half, and I will then occupy an half hour in replying to him. [Three times three cheers were here given for Douglas.]
Mr. Lincoln's Reply
Mr. Lincoln then came forward and was greeted with long and protracted cheers from fully two-thirds of the audience. This was admitted by the Douglas men on the platform. It was some minutes before he could make himself heard, even by those on the stand. At last he said:
My Fellow-Citizens: When a man hears himself somewhat misrepresented, it provokes him,—at least, I find it so with myself; but
when misrepresentation becomes very gross and palpable, it is more apt to amuse him [laughter.] The first thing I see fit to notice is the fact that Judge Douglas alleges, after running through the history of the old Democratic and the old Whig parties, that Judge Trumbull and myself made an arrangement in 1854, by which I was to have the place of General Shields in the United States Senate, and Judge Trumbull was to have the place of Judge Douglas. Now, all I have to say upon that subject is that I think no man—not even Judge Douglas—can prove it, because it is not true [cheers]. I have no doubt he is "conscientious" in saying it [laughter].
As to those resolutions that he took such a length of time to read, as being the platform of the Republican party in 1854, I say I never had anything to do with them, and I think Trumbull never had [renewed laughter]. Judge Douglas cannot show that either of us ever did have anything to do with them. I believe this is true about those resolutions. There was a call for a Convention to form a Republican party at Springfield, and I think that my friend Mr. Lovejoy, who is here upon this stand, had a hand in it. I think this is true, and I think if he will remember accurately, he will be able to recollect that he tried to get me into it, and I would not go in [cheers and laughter]. I believe it is also true that I went away from Springfield when the Convention was in session , to attend court in Tazewell County. It is true they did place my name, though without authority upon the committee, and afterward wrote me to attend the meeting of the committee; but I refused to do so, and I never had anything to do with that organization. This is the plain truth about all that matter of the resolutions.
Now, about this story that Judge Douglas tells of Trumbull bargaining to sell out the old Democratic party, and Lincoln agreeing to sell out the old Whig party, I have the means of knowing about that: [laughter] Judge Douglas cannot have; and I know there is no substance to it whatever [applause]. Yet I have no doubt he is "conscientious" about it [laughter]. I know that after Mr. Lovejoy got into the Legislature that winter, he complained of me that I had told all the old Whigs of his district that the old Whig party was good enough for them, and some of them voted against him because I told
them so. Now, I have no means of totally disproving such charges as this which the Judge makes. A man cannot prove a negative; but he has a right to claim that when a man makes an affirmative charge, he must offer some proof to show the truth of what he says. I certainly cannot introduce testimony to show the negative about things, but I have a right to claim that if a man says he knows a thing, then he must show how he knows it. I always have a right to claim this, and it is not satisfactory to me that he may be "conscientious" on the subject [cheers and laughter].
Now, gentlemen, I hate to waste my time on such things; but in regard to that general Abolition tilt that Judge Douglas makes, when he says that I was engaged at that time in selling out and Abolitionizing the old Whig party, I hope you will permit me to read a part of a printed speech that I made then at Peoria, which will show altogether a different view of the position I took in that contest of 1854.
A Voice.—"Put on your specs."
Mr. Lincoln.—Yes, sir, I am obliged to do so; I am no longer a young man [laughter].
"This is the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. The foregoing history may not be precisely accurate in every particular, but I am sure it is sufficiently so for all the uses I shall attempt to make of it, and in it we have before us the chief materials enabling us to correctly judge whether the repeal of the Missouri Compromise is right or wrong.
"I think, and shall try to show, that it is wrong,—wrong in its direct effect, letting slavery into Kansas and Nebraska, and wrong in its prospective principle, allowing it to spread to every other part of the wide world where men can be found inchned to take it.
"This declared indifference, but, as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world,—enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites; causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty,—criticising the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.
"Before proceeding let me say, I think I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist among them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist among us, we should not instantly give it up. This I believe of the masses North and South. Doubtless there are individuals on both sides who would not hold slaves under any circumstances; and others who would gladly introduce slavery anew, if it were out of existence. We know that some Southern men do free their slaves, go North, and become tip-top Abolitionists; while some Northern ones go South and become most cruel slave-masters.
"When Southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the orgin of slavery than we, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists, and that it is very difficult to get rid of it, in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself. If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves and send them to Liberia,—to their own native land. But a moment's reflection would convince me that whatever of high hope (as I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed there in a day, they would all perish in the next ten days; and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough in the world to carry them there in many times ten days. What then? Free them all and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? I think I would not hold one in slavery, at any rate; yet the point is not clear enough to me to denounce people upon. What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not. Whether this feeling accords with justice and sound judgment, is not the sole question, if, indeed, it is any part of it. A universal feeling, whether well or ill founded, cannot be safely disregarded. We cannot, then, make them equals. It does seem to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but for their tardiness in this, I will not undertake to judge our brethern of the South.
"When they remind us of their constitutional rights, I acknowledge them, not grudgingly, but fully and fairly; and I would give them any legislation for the reclaiming of their fugitives which should not, in its stringency, be more likely to carry a free man into slavery, than our ordinary, criminal laws are to hang an innocent one [loud applause].
"But all this, to my judgment, furnishes no more excuse for permitting slavery to go into our own Free Territory than it would for reviving the African slave trade by law. The law which forbids the bringing of slaves from Africa, and that which has so long forbidden the taking of them to Nebraska, can hardly be distinguished on any moral principle; and the repeal of the former could find quite as plausible excuses as that of the latter."I have reason to know that Judge Douglas knows that I said this. I think he has the answer here to one of the questions he put to me.
I do not mean to allow him to catechise me unless he pays back for it in kind. I will not answer questions one after another, unless he reciprocates; but as he has made this inquiry, and I have answered it before, he has got it without my getting anything in return. He has got my answer on the Fugitive-Slave law.
Now, gentlemen, I don't want to read at any greater length; but this is the true complexion of all I have ever said in regard to the institution of slavery and the black race. This is the whole of it; and anything that argues me into his idea of perfect social and political equality with the negro, is but a specious and fantastic arrangement of words, by which a man can prove a horse-chestnut to be a chestnut horse. [Laughter].
I will say here, while upon this subject, that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races. There is a physical difference between the two which, in my judgement, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary, but 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. [Loud cheers.] I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects,—certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual 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. [Great applause.]
Now I pass on to consider one or two more of these little follies. The Judge isat fault about his early friend Lincoln being a "grocery-keeper." [Laughter.] I don't know as it would be a great sin, if I had been; but he is mistaken. Lincoln never kept a grocery anywhere in the world. [Laughter.] It is true that Lincoln did work the latter part of the winter in a little still-house, up at the head of a hollow. [Roars of laughter.]
And so I think my friend the Judge is equally at fault when he charges me at the time when I was in Congress of having opposed our soldiers who were fighting in the Mexican war. The Judge did not make his charge very distinctly, but I can tell you what he can prove, by referring to the record. You remember I was an old Whig, and whenever the Democratic party tried to get me to vote that the war had beenbegun by the President, I would not do it. But whenever they asked for any money, or land-warrants, or anything to pay the soldiers there, during all the time, I gave the same vote that Judge Douglas did. [Loud applause.] You can think as you please as to whether that was consistent. Such is the truth; and the Judge has the right to make all he can out of it. But when he, by a general charge, conveys the idea that I withheld supplies from the soldiers who were fighting in the Mexican war, or did anything else to hinder the soldiers, he is, to say the least, grossly and altogether mistaken, as a consultation of the records will prove to him.
As I have not used up so much of my time as I had supposed, I will dwell a little longer upon one or two of these minor topics upon which the Judge has spoken. He has read from my speech in Springfield, in which I say "that a house divided against itself cannot stand." Does the Judge say it can stand? [Laughter.] I don't know whether he does or not. The Judge does not seem to be attending to me just now but I would like to know if it is his opinion that a house divided against itself can stand. If he does, then there is a question of veracity, not between him and me, but between the Judge and an authority of a somewhat higher character. [Laughter and applause.]
Now, my friends, I ask your attention to this matter for the purpose of saying something seriously. I know that the Judge may readily enough agree with me that the maxim which was put forth by the Saviour is true, but he may allege that I misapply it; and the Judge has a right to urge that, in my application, I do misapply it, and then I have a right to show that I do not misapply it. When he undertakes to say that because I think this nation, so far as the question of slavery is concerned, will all become one thing or all the other, I am in favor of bringing about a dead uniformity in the various States, in all their institutions, he argues erroneously. The great variety of the local institutions in the States, springing from differences in the soil, differences in the face of the country, and in the climate, are bonds of Union. They do not make "a house divided against itself," but they
make a house united. If they produce in one section of the country what is called for by the wants of another section, and this other section can supply the wants of the first, they are not matters of discord, but bonds of union, true bonds of union.
But can this question of slavery be considered as among these varieties in the institutions of the country? I leave it to you to say whether, in the history of our Government, this institution of slavery has not always failed to be a bond of union, and, on the contrary, been an apple of discord and an element of division in the house. [Cries of "yes, yes," and applause.] I ask you to consider whether, so long as the moral constitution of men's minds shall continue to be the same, after this generation and assemblage shall sink into the grave, and another race shall arise, with the same moral and intellectual development we have,—whether, if that institution is standing in the same irritating position in which it now is, it will not continue an element of division? [Cries of "Yes, yes."] If so, then I have a right to say that, in regard to this question, the Union is a house divided against itself; and when the Judge reminds me that I have often said to him that the institution of slavery has existed for eighty years in some States, and yet it does not exist in some others, I agree to the fact, and I account for it by looking at the position in which our fathers originally placed it,—restricting it from the new Territories where it had not gone, and legislating to cut off its source by the abrogation of the slave-trade, thus putting the seal of legislation against its spread.
The public mind did rest in the belief that it was in the course of ultimate extinction. [Cries of "Yes, yes."] But lately, I think—and in this I charge nothing on the Judge's motives—lately, I think, that he, and those acting with him, have placed that institution on a new basis, which looks to the perpetuity and nationalization of slavery. [Loud cheers.] And while it is placed upon this new basis, I say, and I have said that I believe we shall not have peace upon the question until the opponents of slavery 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, on the other hand, that its advocates will push it forward until it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new. North as well as South. Now, I believe if we could arrest the spread, and place it where Washington and Jefferson and
Madison placed it, it would be in the course of ultimate extinction, and the public mind would, as for eighty years past, believe that it was in the course of ultimate extinction. The crisis would be past, and the institution might be let alone for a hundred years, if it should live so long, in the States where it exists; yet it would be going out of existence in the way best for both the black and the white races. [Great cheering.]
A voice.—"Then do you repudiate Popular Sovereignty?"
Mr. Lincoln.—Well, then, let us talk about Popular Sovereignty. [Laughter.] What is Popular Sovereignty? [Cries of "A Humbug," "a humbug."] Is it the right of the people to have slavery or not have it, as they see fit, in the Territories? I will state—and I have an able man to watch me—my understanding is that Popular Sovereignty, as now applied to the question of slavery, does allow the people of a Territory to have slavery if they want to, but does not allow them not to have it if they do not want it. [Applause and laughter.] I do not mean that if this vast concourse of people were in a Territory of the United States, any one of them would be obliged to have a slave if he did not want one; but I do say that, as I understand the Dred Scott decision, if any one man wants slaves, all the rest have no way of keeping that one man from holding them.
When I made my speech at Springfield, of which the Judge complains, and from which he quotes, I really was not thinking of the things which he ascribes to me at all. I had no thought in the world that I was doing anything to bring about a war between the Free and Slave States. I had no thought in the world that I was doing anything to bring about a political and social equality of the black and the white races. It neverto me that I was doing anything, or favoring anything to reduce to a dead uniformity all the local institutions of the various States. But I must say, in all fairness to him, if he thinks I am doing something which leads to these bad results, it is none the better that I did not mean it. It is just as fatal to the country, if I have any influence in producing it, whether I intend it or not. But can it be true that placing this institution upon the original basis—the basis upon which our fathers placed it—can have any tendency to set the Northern and the Southern States at war with one another, or that it can have any tendency to make the people of Vermont raise sugar-cane, because they raise it in Louisiana; or that it can compel the people of Illinois to cut pine logs on the
Grand Prairie, where they will not grow, because they cut pine logs in Maine, where they do grow? [Laughter.]
The Judge says this is a new principle started in regard to this question. Does the Judge claim that he is working on the plan of the founders of the government? I think he says in some of his speeches—indeed, I have one here now—that he saw evidence of a policy to allow slavery to be south of a certain line, while north of it it should be excluded, and he saw an indisposition on the part of the country to stand upon that policy, and therefore he sat about studying the subject upon original principles, and upon original principles he got up the Nebraska bill ! I am fighting it upon these "original principles,"—fighting it in the Jeffersonian, Washingtonian, and Madisonian fashion. [Laughter and applause.]
Now, my friends, I wish you to attend for a little while to one or two other things in that Springfield speech. My main object was to show, so far as my humble ability was capable of showing, to the people of this country, what I believed was the truth,—that there was a tendency, if not a conspiracy, among those who have engineered this slavery question for the last four or five years, to make slavery perpetual and universal in this nation. Having made that speech principally for that object, after arranging the evidences that I thought tended to prove my proposition, I concluded with this bit of comment:—
"We cannot absolutely know that these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert; but when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places, and by different workmen,—Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James, for instance,—and when we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortises exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few,—not omitting even the scaffolding,—or if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in,—in such a case we feel it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn before the first blow was struck." [Great cheers.]When my friend Judge Douglas came to Chicago on the 9th of July, this speech having been delivered on the 16th of June, he made an harangue there, in which he took hold of this speech of mine, showing that he had carefully read it; and while he paid no attention to this matter at all, but complimented me as being a "kind, amiable, and
intelligent gentleman," notwithstanding I had said this, he goes on and deduces, or draws out, from my speech this tendency of mine to set the States at war with one another, to make all the institutions uniform, and set the niggers and white people to marrying together. [Laughter.] Then, as the Judge had complimented me with these pleasant titles (I must confess to my weakness) , I was a little "taken" [laughter], for it came from a great man. I was not very much accustomed to flattery, and it came the sweeter to me. I was rather like the Hoosier, with the gingerbread, when he said he reckoned he loved it better than any other man, and got less of it. [Roars of laughter.] As the Judge had so flattered me, I could not make up my mind that he meant to deal unfairly with me; so I went to work to show him that he misunderstood the whole scope of my speech, and that I really never intended to set the people at war with one another.
As an illustration, the next time I met him which was at Springfield, I used this expression, that I claimed no right under the Constitution, nor had I any inclination, to enter into the Slave States, and interfere with the institutions of slavery. He says upon that: Lincoln will not enter into the Slave States, but will go to the banks of the Ohio, on this side, and shoot over! [Laughter.] He runs on, step by step, in the horse-chestnut style of argument, until in the Springfield speech he says: "Unless he shall be successful in firing his batteries, until he shall have extinguished slavery in all the States, the Union shall be dissolved." Now, I don't think that was exactly the way to treat a "kind, amiable, intelligent gentleman." [Roars of laughter.] I know if I had asked the Judge to show when or where it was I had said that if I succeed in firing into the Slave States until slavery should be extinguished, the Union should be dissolved, he could not have shown it. I understand what he would do. He would say, "I don't mean to quote from you, but this was the result of what you say." But I have the right to ask, and I do ask now. Did you not put it in such a form that an ordinary reader or listener would take it as an expression from me? [Laughter.]
In a speech at Springfield, on the night of the 17th, I thought I might as well attend to my own business a little, and I recalled his attention as well as I could to this charge of conspiracy to nationalize slavery. I called his attention to the fact that he had acknowledged, in my hearing twice, that he had carefully read the speech, and, in the
language of the lawyers, as he had twice read the speech, and still had put in no plea or answer, I took a default on him. I insisted that I had a right then to renew that charge of conspiracy. Ten days afterward I met the Judge at Clinton,—that is to say, I was on the ground, but not in the discussion,—and heard him make a speech. Then he comes in with his plea to this charge, for the first time; and his plea when put in, as well as I can recollect it, amounted to this: that he never had any talk with Judge Taney or the President of the United States with regard to the Dred Scott decision before it was made; I (Lincoln) ought to know that the man who makes a charge without knowing it to be true, falsifies as much as he who knowingly tells a falsehood; and, lastly, that he would pronounce the whole thing a falsehood; but he would make no personal application of the charge of falsehood, not because of any regard for the "kind, amiable, intelligent gentleman," but because of his own personal self-respect! [Roars of laughter.]
I have understood since then (but [turning to Judge Douglas] will not hold the Judge to it if he is not willing) that he has broken through the "self-respect," and has got to saying the thing out. The Judge nods to me that it is so. [Laughter.] It is fortunate for me that I can keep as good-humored as I do, when the Judge acknowledges that he has been trying to make a question of veracity with me. I know the Judge is a great man, while I am only a small man, but I feel that I have got him. [Tremendous cheering.] I demur to that plea. I waive all objections that it was not filed till after default was taken, and demur to it upon the merits. What if Judge Douglas never did talk with Chief Justice Taney and the President before the Dred Scott decision was made, does it follow that he could not have had as perfect an understanding without talking as with it? I am not disposed to stand upon my legal advantage. I am disposed to take his denial as being like an answer in chancery, that he neither had any knowledge, information, or belief in the existence, of such a conspiracy. I am disposed to take his answer as being as broad as though he had put it in these words. And now, I ask, even if he had done so, have not I a right to prove it on him, and to offer the evidence of more than two witnesses, by whom to prove it; and if the evidence proves the existence of the conspiracy, does his broad answer denying all knowledge, information, or belief, disturb the fact? It can only show that he was used by conspirators, and was not a leader of them. [Vociferous cheering.]
Now, in regard to his reminding me of the moral rule that persons who tell what they do not know to be true, falsify as much as those who knowingly tell falsehoods. I remember the rule, and it must be borne in mind that in what I have read to you, I do not say that I know such a conspiracy to exist. To that I reply, I believe it. If the Judge says that I do not believe it, then he says what he does not know and falls within his own rule, that he who asserts a thing which he does not know to be true, falsifies as much as he who knowingly tells a falsehood.
I want to call your attention to a little discussion on that branch of the case, and the evidence which brought my mind to the conclusion which I expressed as my belief. If, in arraying that evidence, I had stated anything which was false or erroneous, it needed but that Judge Douglas should point it out, and I would have taken it back, with all the kindness in the world. I do not deal in that way. If I have brought forward anything not a fact, if he will point it out, it will not even ruffle me to take it back. But if he will not point out anything erroneous in the evidence, is it not rather for him to show, by a comparison of the evidence, that I have reasoned falsely, than to call the "kind, amiable, intelligent gentleman" a liar? [Cheers and laughter.] If I have reasoned to a false conclusion, it is the vocation of an able debater to show by argument that I have wandered to an erroneous conclusion.
I want to ask your attention to a portion of the Nebraska bill, which Judge Douglas has quoted: "It being the true intent and meaning of this Act, not to legislate slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States." Thereupon Judge Douglas and others began to argue in favor of "Popular Sovereignty,"—the right of the people to have slaves if they wanted them, and to exclude slavery if they did not want them. "But," said, in substance, a Senator from Ohio (Mr. Chase, I believe), "we more than suspect that you do not mean to allow the people to exclude slavery if they wish to; and if you do mean it, accept an amendment which I propose, expressly authorizing the people to exclude slavery."
I believe I have the amendment here before me, which was offered, and under which the people of the Territory, through their proper
representatives, might, if they saw fit, prohibit the existence of slavery therein. And now I state it as a fact, to be taken back if there is any mistake about it, that Judge Douglas and those acting with him voted that amendment down. [Tremendous applause.] I now think that those men who voted it down had a real reason for doing so. They know what that reason was. It looks to us, since we have seen the Dred Scott decision pronounced, holding that "under the Constitution," the people cannot exclude slavery,—I say it looks to outsiders, poor, simple, "amiable, intelligent gentlemen," [great laughter] as though the niche was left as a place to put that Dred Scott decision in, [laughter and cheers]— a niche which would have been spoiled by adopting the amendment. And now, I say again, if this was not the reason, it will avail the judge much more to calmly and good-humoredly point out to these people what that other reason was for voting the amendment down, than, swelling himself up, to vociferate that he may be provoked to call somebody a liar. [Tremendous applause.]
Again: There is in that same quotation from the Nebraska bill this clause: "It being the true intent and meaning of this bill not to legislate slavery into any Territory or State." I have always been puzzled to know what business the word "State" had in that connection. Judge Douglas knows. He put it there. He knows what he put it there for. We outsiders cannot say what he put it there for. The law they were passing was not about States, and was not making provision for States. What was it placed there for? After seeing the Dred Scott decision, which holds that the people cannot exclude slavery from a Territory, if another Dred Scott decision shall come, holding that they cannot exclude it from a State, we shall discover that when the word was originally put there, it was in view of something which was to come in due time, we shall see that it was the other half of something. [Applause.] I now say again, if there is any different reason for putting it there, Judge Douglas, in a good-humored way, without calling anybody a liar, can tell what the reason was. [Renewed cheers.]
When the Judge spoke at Clinton, he came very near making a charge of falsehood against me. He used, as I found it printed in a newspaper, which, I remember, was very nearly like the real speech, the following language:—
"I did not answer the charge [of conspiracy] before, for the reason that I did not suppose there was a man in America with a heart so corrupt as to believe such a charge could be true. I have too much respect for Mr. Lincoln to suppose he is serious in making the charge."
I confess this is rather a curious view, that out of respect for me he should consider I was making what I deemed rather a grave charge, in fun. [Laughter.] I confess it strikes me rather strangely. But I let it pass. As the Judge did not for a moment believe that there was a man in America whose heart was so "corrupt" as to make such a charge, and as he places me among the "men in America," who have hearts base enough to make such a charge, I hope he will excuse me if I hunt out another charge very like this; and if it should turn out that in hunting I should find that other, and it should turn out to be Judge Douglas himself who made it, I hope he will reconsider this question of the deep corruption of heart he has thought fit to ascribe to me. [Great applause and laughter.] In Judge Douglas's speech of March 22, 1858, which I hold in my hand, he says:—
"In this connection there is another topic to which I desire to allude. I seldom refer to the course of newspapers, or notice the articles which they publish in regard to myself; but the course of the Washington Union has been so extraordinary, for the last two or three months, that I think it well enough to make some allusion to it. It has read me out of the Democratic party every other day, at least for two or three months, and keeps reading me out [laughter], and, as if it had not succeeded, still continues to read me out, using such terms as 'traitor,' 'renegade,' 'deserter,' and other kind and polite epithets of that nature. Sir, I have no vindication to make of my Democracy against the Washington Union, or any other newspaper. I am willing to allow my history and action for the last twenty years to speak for themselves as to my pohtical principles and my fidelity to political obligations. The Washington Union has a personal grievance. When its editor was nominated for public printer, I declined to vote for him, and stated that at some time I might give my reasons for doing so. Since I declined to give that vote, this scurrilous abuse, these vindictive and constant attacks have been repeated almost daily on me. Will my friend from Michigan read the article to which I allude?"
This is a part of the speech. You must excuse me from reading the entire article of the Washington Union, as Mr. Stuart read it for Mr. Douglas. The Judge goes on and sums up, as I think, correctly:—
"Mr. President, you here find several distinct propositions advanced boldly by the Washington Union editorially, and apparently authoritatively; and any man who questions any of them is denounced as an Abolitionist, a Free-soiler, a fanatic. The propositions are, first, that the primary object of all government at its original institution is the protection of person and property; second, that the Constitution of the United States declares that the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and that, therefore, thirdly, all State laws, whether organic or otherwise, which prohibit the citizens of one State from settling in another with their slave property, and especially declaring it forfeited, are direct vilations of the original intention of the Government and Constitution of the United States; and, fourth, that the emancipation of the slaves of the Northern States was a gross outrage of the rights of property, inasmuch as it was involuntarily done on the part of the owner.
"Remember that this article was published in the Union on the 17th of November, and on the 18th appeared the first article giving the adhesion of the Union to the Lecompton Constitution. It was in these words:—
"'Kansas and her Constitution.—The vexed question is settled. The problem is solved. The dead point of danger is passed. All serious trouble to Kansas affairs is over and gone'—
"And a column nearly of the same sort. Then, when you come to look into the Lecompton Constitution, you find the same doctrine incorporated in it which was put forth editorially in the Union. What is it?
"'Article 7, Section 1. The right of property is before and higher than any constitutional sanction; and the right of the owner of a slave to such slave and its increase is the same and as inviolable as the right of the owner of any property whatever.'
"Then in the schedule is a provision that the Constitution may be amended after 1864 by a two-thirds vote.
"'But no alteration shall be made to affect the right of property in the ownership of slaves.'
"It will be seen by these clauses in the Lecompton Constitution that they are identical in spirit with the authoritative article in the Washington Union of the day previous to its indorsement of this Constitution."
I pass over some portions of the speech, and I hope that any one who feels interested in this matter will read the entire section of the speech, and see whether I do the Judge injustice He proceeds:—
"When I saw that article in the Union of the 17th of November, followed by the glorification of the Lecompton Constitution on the 18th of November, and this clause in the Constitution asserting the doctrine that a State has no right to prohibit slavery within its limits, I saw that there was a fatal blow being struck at the sovereignty of the States of this Union."
I stop the quotation there, again requesting that it may all be read. I have read all of the portion I desire to comment upon. What is this charge that the Judge thinks I must have a very corrupt heart to make? It was a purpose on the part of certain high functionaries to make it impossible for the people of one State to prohibit the people of any other State from entering it with their "property," so called, and making it a Slave State. In other words it was a charge implying a design to make the institution of slavery national. And now I ask your attention to what Judge Douglas has himself done here. I know he made that part of the speech as a reason why he had refused to vote for a certain man for public printer; but when we get at it, the charge itself is the very one I made against him, that he thinks I am so corrupt for uttering. Now, whom does he make that charge against? Does he make it against that newspaper editor merely? No; he says it is identical in spirit with the Lecompton Constitution, and so the framers of that Constitution are brought in with the editor of the newspaper in that "fatal blow being struck." [Cheers and laughter.] He did not call it a "conspiracy." In his language, it is a "fatal blow being struck." And if the words carry the meaning better when changed from a "conspiracy" into a "fatal blow being struck," I will change my expression, and call it "fatal blow being struck." We see the charge made not merely against the editor of the Union, but all the framers of the Lecompton Constitution; and not only so, but the article was an authoritative article. By whose authority? Is there any question but he means it was by the authority of the President and his Cabinet,—the Administration?
Is there any sort of question but that he means to make that charge? Then there are the editors of the Union, the framers of the Lecompton Constitution, the President of the United States and his Cabinet, and all the supporters of the Lecompton Constitution, in Congress and out of Congress, who are all involved in this "fatal blow being struck." I commend to Judge Douglas's consideration the question of how corrupt a man's heart must be to make such a charge! [Vociferous cheering.]
Now, my friends, I have but one branch of the subject, in the little time I have left, to which to call your attention; and as I shall come to a close at the end of that branch, it is probable that I shall not occupy quite all the time allotted to me. Although on these questions I would like to talk twice as long as I have, I could not enter upon another head and discuss it properly without running over my time. I ask the question of the people here assembled and elsewhere to the course that Judge Douglas is pursuing every day as bearing upon this question of making slavery national. Not going back to the records, but taking the speeches he makes, the speeches he made yesterday and day before, and makes constantly all over the country,—I ask your attention to them. In the first place, what is necessary to make the institution national? Not war. There is no danger that the people of Kentucky will shoulder their muskets, and, with a young nigger stuck on every bayonet, march into Illinois and force them upon us. There is no danger of our going over there and making war upon them. Then what is necessary for the nationalization of slavery? It is simply the next Dred Scott decision. It is merely for the Supreme Court to decide that no State under the Constitution can exclude it, just as they have already decided that under the Constitution neither Congress nor the Territorial Legislature can do it. When that is decided and acquiesced in, the whole thing is done.
This being true, and this being the way, as I think, that slavery is to be made national, let us consider what Judge Douglas is doing every day to that end. In the first place, let us see what influence he is exerting on public sentiment. In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed. This must be borne in mind, as also the additional fact that Judge Douglas is a man of vast influence, so great that it is enough for many men to profess to believe anything, when they once find out that Judge Douglas professes to believe it. Consider also the attitude he occupies at the head of a large party,—a party which he claims has a majority of all the voters of the country. This man sticks to a decision which forbids the people of a Territory from excluding slavery, and he does so, not because he says it is right in itself,—he does not give any opinion on that,—but because it has been decided by the court; and being decided by the court, he is, and you are, bound to take it in your political action as law, not that he judges at all of its merits, but because a decision of the court is to him a "Thus saith the Lord." He places it on that ground alone; and you will bear in mind that thus committing himself unreservedly to this decision commits him to the next one just as firmly as to this. He did not commit himself on account of the merit or demerit of the decision, but it is a "Thus saith the Lord." The next decision, as much as this, will be a "Thus saith the Lord." [Applause.] There is nothing that can divert or turn him away from this decision It is nothing that I point out to him that his great prototype, General Jackson, did not beheve in the binding force of decisions. It is nothing to him that Jefferson did not so believe. I have said that I have often heard him approve of Jackson's course in disregarding the decision of the Supreme Court pronouncing a National Bank constitutional. He says, I did not hear him say so. He denies the accuracy of my recollection. I say he ought to know better than I, but I will make no question about this thing, though it still seems to me that I heard him say it twenty times. [Applause and laughter.] I will tell him, though, that he now claims to stand on the Cincinnati platform, which affirms that Congress cannot charter a National Bank, in the teeth of that old standing decision that Congress can charter a bank.
And I remind him of another piece of history on the question of respect for judicial decisions: and it is a piece of Illinois history belonging to a time when the large party to which Judge Douglas belonged were displeased with a decision of the Supreme Court of Illinois; because they had decided that a Governor could not remove a Secretary of State. You will find the whole story in Ford's History of Illinois, and I know that Judge Douglas will not deny that he was then in favor of overslaughing that decision by the mode of adding five new judges, so as to vote down the four old ones. Not only so, but it ended in the Judge's sitting down on that very bench as one of the five new judges to break down the four old ones. [Cheers and laughter.] It was in this way precisely that he got his title of judge. Now, when the Judge tells me that men appointed conditionally to sit as members of a court will have to be catechised beforehand upon some subject, I say, "You know. Judge; you have tried it." [Laughter.] When he says a court of this kind will lose the confidence of all men, will be prostituted and disgraced by such a proceeding, I say, "You know best, Judge; you have been through the mill." [Great laughter.]
But I cannot shake Judge Douglas's teeth loose from the Dred Scott decision. Like some obstinate animal (I mean no disrespect) that will hang on when he has once got his teeth fixed, you may cut off a leg, or you may tear away an arm, still he will not relax his hold. And so I may point out to the Judge, and say, that he is bespattered all over, from the beginning of his political life to the present time, with attacks upon judicial decisions; I may cut off limb after limb of his public record, and strive to wrench him from a single dictum of the court,—yet I cannot divert him from it. He hangs, to the last, to the Dred Scott decision. [Loud cheers.] These things show there is a purpose strong as death and eternity for which he adheres to this decision, and for which he will adhere to all other decisions of the same court. [Vociferous applause.]
A Hibernian.—"Give us something besides Drid Scott."
Mr. Lincoln.—Yes; no doubt you want to hear something that don't hurt. [Laughter and applause.] Now, having spoken of the Dred Scott decision, one more word, and I am done. Henry Clay, my beau ideal of a statesman, the man for whom I fought all my humble life,—Henry Clay once said of a class of men who would repress all tendencies to liberty and ultimate emancipation, that they must, if they would do this, go back to the era of our Independence, and muzzle the cannon which thunders its annual joyous return; they must blow out the moral lights around us; they must penetrate the human soul, and eradicate there the love of liberty; and then, and not till then, could they perpetuate slavery in this country ! [Loud cheers.] To my thinking, Judge Douglas is, by his example and vast influence, doing that very thing in this community, [cheers] when he says that the negro has nothing in the Declaration of Independence. Henry Clay plainly understood the contrary.
Judge Douglas is going back to the era of our Revolution, and to the extent of his ability, muzzling the cannon which thunders its annual joyous return. When he invites any people, willing to have slavery, to establish it, he is blowing out the moral lights around us. [Cheers.] When he says he "cares not whether slavery is voted down or voted up,"—that it is a sacred right of self-government,—he is, in my judgment, penetrating the human soul and eradicating the light of reason and the love of liberty in this American people. [Enthusiastic and continued applause.] And now I will only say that when, by all these means and appliances, Judge Douglas shall succeed in bringing public sentiment to an exact accordance with his own views; when these vast assemblages shall echo back all these sentiments; when they shall come to repeat his views and to avow his principles, and to say all that he says on these mighty questions,—then it needs only the formality of the second Dred Scott decision, which he endorses in advance, to make slavery alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South. My friends, that ends the chapter. The Judge can take his half-hour.
As Mr. Lincoln retired, three cheers were proposed and given with tremendous volume—followed by three more, and then three more, extending to all parts of the public square.
Fellow-Citizens: I will now occupy the half-hour allotted to me in replying to Mr. Lincoln. The first point to which I will call your attention is as to what I said about the organization of the Republican party in 1854, and the platform that was formed on the 5th of October of that year, and I will then put the question to Mr. Lincoln, whether or not he approves of each article in that platform, ["He answered that already."] and ask for a specific answer. ["He has answered," "you cannot make him answer," etc.] I did not charge him with being a member of the committee which reported that platform. ["Yes, you did."] I charged that that platform was the platform of the Republican party adopted by them. The fact that it was the platform of the Republican party is not denied; but Mr. Lincoln now says that although his name was on the committee which reported it, he does not think he was there, but thinks he was in Tazewell, holding court. ["He said he was there."] Gentlemen, I ask your silence, and no interruptions. Now, I want to remind Mr. Lincoln that he was at Springfield when that Convention was held and those resolutions were adopted. ["You can't do it." "He wasn't there," etc.]
[Mr. Glover, chairman of the Republican Committee: I hope no Republican will interrupt Mr. Douglas. The masses listened to Mr. Lincoln attentively and as respectable men we ought now to hear Mr. Douglas and without interruption. ("Good.")]
Mr. Douglas resuming:
The point I am going to remind Mr. Lincoln of is this: that after I had made my speech in 1854, during the Fair, he gave me notice that he was going to reply to me the next day. I was sick at the time, but I stayed over in Springfield to hear his reply, and to reply to him. On that day this very Convention, the resolutions adopted by which I have read, was to meet in the Senate chamber. He spoke in the hall of the House; and when he got through his speech,—my recollection is distinct, and I shall never forget it,—Mr. Codding walked in as I took the stand to reply, and gave notice that the Republican State convention would meet instantly in the Senate chamber, and called upon the Republicans to retire there and go into this very Convention, instead of remaining and listening to me. [Three cheers for Douglas.]
Mr. Lincoln, interrupting, excitedly and angrily.—Judge, add that I went along with them. [This interruption was made in a pitiful, mean, sneaking way, as Lincoln floundered around the stand.]
Mr. Douglas.—Gentlemen, Mr. Lincoln tells me to add that he went along with them to the senate chamber. I will not add that, because I do not know whether he did or not.
Mr. Lincoln, again interrupting.—I know he did not. [Two of the Republican committee here seized Mr. Lincoln, and by a sudden jerk caused him to disappear from the front of the stand, one of them saying quite audibly, "What are you making such a fuss for? Douglas didn't interrupt you, and can't you see that the people don't like it?"]
Mr. Douglas.—I do not know whether he knows it or not, that is not the point and I will yet bring him to the question.
In the first place, Mr. Lincoln was selected by the very men who made the Republican organization on that day, to reply to me. He spoke for them and for that party, and he was the leader of the party; and on the very day he made his speech in reply to me, preaching up this same doctrine of negro equality under the Declaration of Independence, this Republican party met in Convention. [Three cheers for Douglas.] Another evidence that he was acting in concert with them is to be found in the fact that that Convention waited an hour after its time of meeting to hear Lincoln's speech, and Codding, one of their leading men, marched in the moment Lincoln got through, and gave notice that they did not want to hear me, and would proceed with the business of the Convention. ["Strike him again,"—three cheers, etc.] Still another fact. I have here a newspaper printed at Springfield, Mr. Lincoln's own town, in October, 1854, a few days afterward, publishing these resolutions, charging Mr. Lincoln with entertaining these sentiments, and trying to prove that they were also the sentiments of Mr. Yates, then candidate for Congress. This has been published on Mr. Lincoln over and over again, and never before has he denied it. ["Three cheers."]
But, my friends, this denial of his that he did not act on the committee, is a miserable quibble to avoid this main issue, [Applause, "That's so."] which is, that this Republican platform declares in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive-Slave law. Has Lincoln answered whether he indorsed that or not? [" No, no. "] I called his attention to it when I first addressed you, and asked him for an answer, and I then predicted that he would not answer. ["Bravo, glorious," and cheers.] How does he answer? Why, that he was not on the committee that wrote the resolutions. [Laughter.] I then repeated the next proposition contained in the resolutions, which was to restrict slavery in those States in which it exists, and asked him whether he indorsed it. Does he answer yes, or no? He says in reply, "I was not on the committee at the time; I was up in Tazewell." The next question I put to him was, whether he was in favor of prohibiting the admission of any more Slave States into the Union. I put the question to him distinctly, whether, if the people of the Territory, when they had sufficient population to make a State, should form their Constitution recognizing slavery, he would vote for or against its admission. ["That's it."] He is a candidate for the United States Senate, and it is possible, if he should be elected, that he would have to vote directly on that question. ["He never will."] I asked him to answer me and you, whether he would vote to admit a State into the Union, with slavery or without it, as its own people might choose. ["Hear him," "That's the doctrine," and applause.] He did not answer that question. ["He never will."] He dodges that question also, under the cover that he was not on the committee at the time, that he was not present when the platform was made. I want to know if he should happen to be in the Senate when a State applied for admission, with a Constitution acceptable to her own people, he would vote to admit that State, if slavery was one of its institutions. ["That's the question."] He avoids the answer.
Mr. Lincoln, interrupting the third time, excitedly.—No, Judge.—[Mr. Lincoln again disappeared suddenly, aided by a pull from behind.]
It is true he gives the Abolitionists to understand by a hint that he would not vote to admit such a State. And why? He goes on to say that the man who would talk about giving each State the right to have slavery or not, as it pleased, was akin to the man who would muzzle the guns which thundered forth the annual joyous return of the day of our Independence. [Great laughter.] He says that that kind of talk is casting a blight on the glory of this country. What is the meaning of that? That he is not in favor of each State to have the right of doing as it pleases on the slavery question? ["Stick it to him," "don't spare him," applause.] I will put the question to him again and again, and I intend to force it out of him. [Immense applause.]
Then, again, this platform, which was made at Springfield by his own party when he was its acknowledged head, provides that Republicans will insist on the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and I asked Lincoln specifically whether he agreed with them in that? ["Did you get an answer?"] ["No, no."] He is afraid to answer it. ["We will not vote for him."] He knows I will trot him down to Egypt. [Laughter and cheers.] I intend to make him answer there, ["That's right"] or I will show the people of Illinois that he does not intend to answer these questions. ["Keep him to the point," "give us more," etc.] The Convention to which I have been alluding goes a little further, and pledges itself to exclude slavery from all the Territories over which the General Government has exclusive jurisdiction north of 36 deg. 30 min., as well as south. Now, I want to know whether he approves that provision. ["He'll never answer," and cheers.] I want him to answer, and when he does, I want to know his opinion on another point, which is, whether he will redeem the pledge of this platform, and resist the acquirement of any more territory unless slavery therein shall be forever prohibited. I want him to answer this last question.
Each of the questions I have put to him are practical questions,—questions based upon the fundamental principles of the Black Republican party; and I want to know whether he is the first, last, and only choice of a party with whom he does not agree in principle. [Great applause.] ["Rake him down."] He does not deny but that that principle was unanimously adopted by the Republican party; he does not deny that the whole Republican party is pledged to it; he does not deny that a man who is not faithful to it is faithless to the Republican party; and now I want to know whether that party is unanimously in favor of a man who does not adopt that creed and agree with them in their principles ; I want to know whether the man who does not agree with them, and who is afraid to avow his dif ferences, and who dodges the issue, is the first, last, and only choice of the Republican party. [Cheers.]
A Voice.—How about the conspiracy?
Mr. Douglas.—Never mind, I will come to that soon enough. ["Bravo, Judge, hurrah," "three cheers for Douglas."] But the platform which I have read to you not only lays down these principles, but it adds:—
"Resolved, That, in furtherance of these principles, we will use such constitutional and lawful means as shall seem best adapted to their accomplishment, and that we will support no man for office, under the General or State Government, who is not positively and fully committed to the support of these principles, and whose personal character and conduct is not a guarantee that he is reliable, and who shall not have abjured old party allegiance and ties."
["Good," "you have him," etc.]
The Black Republican party stands pledged that they will never support Lincoln until he has pledged himself to that platform; [Tremendous applause, men throwing up their hats, and shouting, "You've got him."] but he cannot devise his answer. He has not made up his mind whether he will or not. [Great laughter.] He talked about everything else he could think of to occupy his hour and a half, and when he could not think of anything more to say, without an excuse for refusing to answer these questions, he sat down long before his time was out. [Cheers.]
In relation to Mr. Lincoln's charge of conspiracy against me, I have a word to say. In his speech to-day he quotes a playful part of his speech at Springfield, about Stephen, and James, and Franklin, and Roger, and says that I did not take exception to it. I did not answer it, and he repeats it again. I did not take exception to this figure of his. He has a right to be as playful as he pleases in throwing his arguments together, and I will not object; but I did take objection to his second Springfield speech, in which he stated that he intended his first speech as a charge of corruption or conspiracy against the Supreme Court of the United States, President Pierce, President Buchanan, and myself. That gave the offensive character to the charge. He then said that when he made it he did not know whether it was true or not; [laughter] but inasmuch as Judge Douglas had not denied it, although he had replied to the other parts of his speech three times, he repeated it as a charge of conspiracy against me, thus charging me with moral turpitude. When he put it in that form, I did say that, inasmuch as he repeated the charge simply because I had not denied it, I would deprive him of the opportunity of ever repeating it again, by declaring that it was, in all its bearings, an infamous lie. ["Three cheers for Douglas."] He says he will repeat it until I answer his folly and nonsense about Stephen, and Franklin, and Roger, and Bob, and James.
He studied that out, prepared that one sentence with the greatest care, committed it to memory, and put it in his first Springfield speech; and now he carries that speech around, and reads that sentence to show how pretty it is. [Laughter.] His vanity is wounded because I will not go into that beautiful figure of his about the building of a house. [Renewed laughter.] All I have to say is, that I am not green enough to let him make a charge which he acknowledges he does not know to be true, and then take up my time in answering it, when I know it to be false, and nobody else knows it to be true. Cheers.]
I have not brought a charge of moral turpitude against him. When he, or any other man, brings one against me, instead of disproving it, I will say that it is a lie, and let him prove it if he can. [Enthusiastic applause.]
I have lived twenty-five years in Illinois, I have served you with all the fidelity and ability which I possess, ["That's so," "good" and cheers] and Mr. Lincoln is at liberty to attack my public action, my votes, and my conduct, but when he dares to attack my moral integrity by a charge of conspiracy between myself, Chief Justice Taney and the Supreme Court, and two Presidents of the United States, I will repel it. ["Three cheers for Douglas."]
Mr. Lincoln has not character enough for integrity and truth, merely on his own ipse dixit, to arraign President Buchanan, President Pierce, and nine Judges of the Supreme Court, not one of whom would be complimented by being put on an equality with him. ["Hit him again," "three cheers," etc.] There is an unpardonable presumption in a man putting himself up before thousands of people, and pretending that his ipse dixit, without proof, without fact, and without truth, is enough to bring down and destroy the purest and best of living men. ["Hear him," "three cheers."]
Fellow-citizens, my time is fast expiring; I must pass on. Mr. Lincoln wants to know why I voted against Mr. Chase's amendment to the Nebraska bill. I will tell him. In the first place, the bill already conferred all the power which Congress had, by giving the people the whole power over the subject. Chase offered a proviso that they might abolish slavery, which by implication would convey the idea that they could prohibit by not introducing that institution. General Cass asked him to modify his amendment so as to provide that the people might either prohibit or introduce slavery, and thus make it fair and equal. Chase refused to so modify his proviso, and then General Cass and all the rest of us voted it down. [Immense cheering.] Those facts appear on the journals and debates of Congress where Mr. Lincoln found the charge; and if he had told the whole truth, there would have been no necessity for me to occupy your time in explaining the matter. [Laughter and applause.]
Mr. Lincoln wants to know why the word "State," as well as "Territory," was put into the Nebraska bill. I will tell him. It was put there to meet just such false arguments as he has been adducing. [Laughter.] That first, not only the people of the Territories should do as they pleased, but that when they come to be admitted as States, they should come into the Union with or without slavery, as the people determined. I meant to knock in the head this Abolition doctrine of Mr. Lincoln's that there shall be no more Slave States, even if the people want them. [Tremendous applause.] And it does not do for him to say, or for any other Black Republican to say, that there is nobody in favor of the doctrine of no more Slave States, and that nobody wants to interfere with the right of the people to do as they please.
What was the orgin of the Missouri difficulty and the Missouri Compromise? The people of Missouri formed a Constitution as a Slave State, and asked admission into the Union; but the Free-soi party of the North, being in a majority, refused to admit her because she had slavery as one of her institutions. Hence this first slavery agitation arose upon a State, and not upon a Territory; and yet Mr. Lincoln does not know why the word "State" was placed in the Kansas-Nebraska bill. [Great laughter and applause.] The whole Abolition agitation arose on that doctrine of prohibiting a State from coming in with slavery or not, as it pleased, and that same doctrine is here in this Republican platform of 1854; it has never been repealed; and every Black Republican stands pledged by that platform never to vote for any man who is not in favor of it. Yet Mr. Lincoln does not know that there is a man in the world who is in favor of preventing a State from coming in as it pleases, notwithstanding. The Spring field platform says that they, the Republican party, will not allow a State to come in under such circumstances. He is an ignorant man. [Cheers.]
Now you see that upon these very points I am as far from bringing Mr. Lincoln up to the line as I ever was before. He does not want to avow his principles. I do want to avow mine, as clear as sunlight in midday. [Cheers and applause.] Democracy is founded upon the eternal principle of right. ["That's the talk."] The plainer these principles are avowed before the people, the stronger will be the support which they will receive. I only wish I had the power to make them so clear that they would shine in the heavens for every man, woman, and child to read. [Loud cheering.] The first of those principles that I would proclaim would be in opposition to Mr. Lincoln's doctrine of uniformity between the different States, and I would declare instead the sovereign right of each State to decide the slavery question as well as all other domestic questions for themselves, without interference from any other State or power whatsoever. ["Hurrah for Douglas!"]
When that principle is recognized, you will have peace and harmony and fraternal feeling between all the States of this Union; until you do recognize that doctrine, there will be sectional warfare agitating and distracting the country. What does Mr. Lincoln propose? He says that the Union cannot exist divided into Free and Slave States. If it cannot endure thus divided, then he must strive to make them all Free or all Slave, which will inevitably bring about a dissolution of the Union. [Cries of "He can't do it."]
Gentlemen, I am told that my time is out, and I am obliged to stop. [Three times three cheers were here given for Senator Douglas. When Douglas had concluded the shouts were tremendous; his excoriation of Lincoln was so severe, that the Republicans hung their heads in shame. The Democrats, however, were loud in their vociferations.]
[Philadelphia, Pa., Press, August 26, 1858]
THE CAMPAIGN IN ILLINOIS
Great Discussion between Douglas and Lincoln.—Immense Enthusiasm.—The Little Giant Triumphant.—20,000 People Present
[Special Correspondence of The Press.]
The discussion between Judge Douglas and Hon. A. Lincoln, the respective candidates for the United States Senate, commenced at Ottawa, Ill., on Saturday, the 21st instant. The meeting was the largest ever held in this part of the State, and the enthusiasm was unbounded. It is estimated that not less than 20,000 persons were present on this important occasion. The bare announcement that the two candidates were to meet in open debate was sufficient to bring together an immense crowd.
A special train of fourteen passenger cars, filled to overflowing, came from Chicago. Another train, composed of eleven cars, came from Peru and LaSalle; whilst delegations in wagons, carriages, and on horseback, came from all directions, and aided to swell the great multitude.
Gorgeous flags and ensigns, bearing appropriate inscriptions, unfurled to the breeze, whilst the rapid discharges of artillery reverberated on the air, and seemed to make the very earth tremble.
Judge Douglas, the great champion, and the invincible defender of the rights, liberties, and institutions of a free people, was met at the city of Peru, sixteen miles distant, by the committee, in an elegant carriage drawn by four splendid horses, and brought to Ottawa. Four miles out he was met by a delegation composed of several hundreds, bearing flags and banners, and escorted into the city amid the booming of cannon, the shouts of thousands, and the strains of martial music. As he neared the Geiger House, it was almost impossible for the carriages to force their way through the dense mass of living beings that blocked up the streets, and clung to the carriage containing the distinguished Senator, anxious to clasp him by the hand. The shouts and cheers that arose on his approach were deafening. No conception can be formed of the enthusiasm that was manifested without having been present, and I cannot command the language to render a proper description. He came like some great deliverer, some mighty champion, who had covered himself with imperishable laurels, and saved a nation from ruin; he came as the immortal Washington, or the patriotic Lafayette, with a nation ready to do him homage. But how different his deeds! They had distinguished themselves on the battle field, whilst the statesman and Senator had reached the culminating point of his career in the councils of the nation, by beating back the tide of political tyranny, and gloriously establishing the doctrine of popular sovereignty, and the right of the people to make their own laws.
When they reached the Geiger House, and the carriage halted in the street, there arose one spontaneous shout that seemed to rend the very air. Again and again did that shout go up, as the distinguished Senator stood in the open carriage with head uncovered, gracefully bowing to the living mass of humanity that surrounded him on all sides. As soon as sufficient order could be restored, he was welcomed in a reception speech by H. W. H. Cushman, Esq., which was indeed an eloquent tribute of esteem and appreciation of his course in the Senate. It was, undoubtedly, the finest, most eloquent, and appropriate reception address delivered during this campaign. I will attempt no description of it—you must read it to appreciate it. Judge Douglas was deeply affected, and could scarcely restrain his emotion.
How different the enthusiasm manifested for his competitor, Mr. Lincoln; or, as he has termed himself, "the living dog." As his procession passed the Geiger House there was scarcely a cheer went up. They marched along silently and sorrowfully, as if it were a funeral cortege following him to the grave. It struck me as very appropriate, as well as symbolical, of what would most assuredly come to pass next November. They appeared to be following "a dead dog" to his political grave; and had the bands played a mournful funeral dirge, the picture would have been complete.
The discussion opened at 2 o'clock in Lafayette Square. The crowd was so dense that the speakers and committeemen could scarcely make their way to the stand, which was filled with reporters and representatives of the press from all sections of the State.
It was agreed that Judge Douglas should open the debate in a speech an hour in length, when Lincoln should follow in a reply an hour and a half, and Judge Douglas rejoin for thirty minutes.
The opening speech was able and eloquent. The Little Giant seemed to surpass himself. He put a number of pointed and leading questions to Lincoln, one of which was whether, if he were elected to the Senate, he would vote to admit States with the privilege of making their own Constitutions, subject to the will of the majority. He deemed it very important that the "living dog" should define his position, by answering this question. If he were a Republican he wanted to know it, and if he were an Abolitionist he wanted to know that also. He wanted no more dodging. It was all-important that Lincoln should tell whether he was for Congress to say whether slavery should exist in a State or Territory, or whether the people should say so. This is the key to the whole question at issue, and it will put a different complexion on the campaign.
The remainder of Judge Douglas's speech was particularly severe, as well as logical and powerful. I will attempt no further description of it, as you can read it almost as soon as this.
When Lincoln commenced his reply, he was evidently laboring under great embarrassment. When he had spoken only twenty minutes, he turned round and asked the moderator how near his time was up! Poor fellow! he was writhing in the powerful grasp of an intellectual giant. His speech amounted to nothing. It was made up with such expressions as "I think it is so," "I may be mistaken," "I guess it was done," &c., &c. There were no straightforward assertions and logical conclusions, such as fall from the lips of Douglas. He spent over half an hour reading from some old speech that he had previously made on Abolitionism. As he continued reading, there were numerous voices exclaiming: "What book is that you are reading from?" This tended to increase his confusion, and after blundering and whining along, and endeavoring to tell anecdotes and nursery tales, he sat down at the end of one hour and fifteen minutes, a quarter of an hour before the expiration of his time, without alluding to one of the questions put to him by Judge Douglas. He dodged them all, not daring to give an answer. But they will be put to him again, and there is no alternative now but to "face the music."
When Judge Douglas rose to reply, his countenance brightened up with that peculiar intellectual and demolishing look that he is so famous for when he is about to make a great point. He electrified the crowd at once. Could you have seen those looks, and heard those burning words of sarcasm, as he commenced to rend his antagonist to atoms, you would have been obliged to admit that it was the culminating period of his life. He poured forth a torrent of logic and sarcasm blended in one strain, that was astonishing. Turning around and facing Lincoln, who was beginning to get very blue about his chops, he impaled him at once—then clutching him in his intellectual grasp, he held him up before the crowd as it were, in imagination, till you could see him like a captivated spider. He reiterated his questions and informed him that there must be no more dodging, and that he was "determined to screw an answer out of him." He reviewed Lincoln's political career, and showed how he had distinguished himself when in Congress by taking sides with the enemy, and how he voted against his country and her soldiers. The excoriation that he gave him was terrible.
When he concluded his thirty-minute broadside, he left the stand immediately, for the cars were waiting. The crowd made one rush after him, and there arose a shout that reverberated for miles across the prairies. In front was the "Little Giant," swinging his hat from right to left, with thousands rushing after him. Such unbounded and electrical enthusiasm I never saw before.
Fifteen minutes afterwards a crowd of about 150 proceeded up the street, four of whom had shouldered Mr. Lincoln, and were carrying him to his hotel. A sardonic grin was on his countenance. It was decidedly the most laughable, as well as the most ridiculous, spectacle that I have beheld for many a day. It excited much merriment on all sides.
Lincoln is the worst-used-up man in the United States, and he is driven almost to desperation. You will find that before he passes through this discussion, there will scarcely be anything left of him. He now exhibits the appearance of great mental and bodily suffering. He has six appointments to meet Judge Douglas yet. I don't believe he will fill them all. The next one is at Freeport, on the 27th inst.
The campaign in Illinois surpasses all others that have ever taken place. The contest in Pennsylvania, in 1856, falls far behind it. . . .
[Evening Post, New York, Aug. 27, 1858]
SENATORIAL CANVASS IN ILLINOIS
Lincoln and Douglas at Ottawa
[From our Special Correspondent]
Chicago, August 23, 1858
Saturday, the 21st, was the day of the first discussion between Lincoln and Douglas. It was held at Ottawa, a city of about 9,000 inhabitants, on the line of the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad and the Illinois canal, and at the junction of the Fox and Illinois rivers. I arrived late the night before at Ottawa, and was accommodated with a sofa at the hotel. The city was already even full. Saturday was a pleasant, but warm day, and Ottawa was deluged in dust. By wagon, by rail, by canal, the people poured in, till Ottawa was one mass of active life. Men, women, and children, old and young, the dwellers on the broad prairies, had turned their backs upon the plough, and had come to listen to these champions of the two parties. Military companies were out; martial music sounded, and salutes of artillery thundered in the air. Eager marshals in partisan sashes rode furiously about the streets. Peddlers were crying their wares at the corners, and excited groups of politicians were canvassing and quarreling everywhere. And still they came, the crowd swelling constantly in its proportions and growing more eager and more hungry, perhaps more thirsty, though every precaution was taken against this latter evil. About noon the rival processions were formed, and paraded the streets amid the cheers of the people. Mr. Lincoln was met at the depot by an immense crowd, who escorted him to the residence of the Mayor, with banners flying and mottoes waving their unfaltering attachment to him and to his cause. The Douglas turnout, though plentifully interspersed with the Hibernian element, was less noisy, and thus matters were arranged for the after-dinner demonstration in the Court House square, where the stand was erected, and where, under the blazing sun, unprotected by shade trees, and unprovided with seats, the audience was expected to congregate and listen to the champions.
Two men presenting wider contrasts could hardly be found as the representatives of the two great parties. Everybody knows Douglas, a short, thick-set, burly man, with large round head, heavy hair, dark complexion, and fierce bull-dog bark. Strong in his own real power, and skilled by a thousand conflicts in all the strategy of a hand-to-hand or a general fight. Of towering ambition, restless in his determined desire for notoriety; proud, defiant, arrogant, audacious, unscrupulous, "Little Dug," ascended the platform and looked out impudently and carelessly on the immense throng which surged and struggled before him. A native of Vermont, reared on a soil where no slave ever stood, trained to hard manual labor and schooled in early hardships, he came to Illinois a teacher, and from one post to another had risen to his present eminence. Forgetful of the ancestral hatred of slavery to which he was the heir, he had come to be a holder of slaves and to owe much of his fame to his continued subservience to southern influence.
The other—Lincoln—is a native of Kentucky, and of poor white parentage; and from his cradle has felt the blighting influence of the dark and cruel shadow which rendered labor dishonorable, and kept the poor in poverty, while it advanced the rich in their possessions. Reared in poverty and the humblest aspirations, he left his native state, crossed the line into Illinois, and began his career of honorable toil. At first a laborer, splitting rails for a living—deficient in education, and applying himself even to the rudiments of knowledge—he, too, felt the expanding power of his American manhood, and began to achieve the greatness to which he has succeeded. With great difficulty struggling through the tedious formularies of legal lore, he was admitted to the bar, and rapidly made his way to the front ranks of his profession. Honored by the people with office, he is still the same honest and reliable man. He volunteers in the Black Hawk war, and does the state good service in its sorest need. In every relation of life, socially and to the State, Mr. Lincoln has been always the pure and honest man. In physique he is the opposite to Douglas. Built on the Kentucky type, he is very tall, slender and angular, awkward even, in gait and attitude. His face is sharp, large-featured and unprepossessing. His eyes are deep set, under heavy brows; his forehead is high and retreating, and his hair is dark and heavy. In repose, I must confess that "Long Abe's" appearance is not comely. But stir him up, and the fire of his genius plays on every feature. His eye glows and sparkles, every lineament, now so ill formed, grows brilliant and expressive, and you have before you a man of rare power and of strong magnetic influence. He takes the people every time, and there is no getting away from his sturdy good sense, his unaffected sincerity, and the unceasing play of his good humor, which accompanies his close logic and smoothes the way to conviction. Listening to him on Saturday, calmly and unprejudiced, I was convinced that he has no superior as a stump speaker. He is clear, concise and logical; his language is eloquent and at perfect command. He is altogether a more fluent speaker than Douglas, and in all the arts of debate fully his equal. The Republicans of Illinois have chosen a champion worthy of their heartiest support, and fully equipped for the conflict. . . . . . Yours, &c.,
[Boston Daily Advertiser, August 28, 1858]
THE CAMPAIGN IN ILLINOIS
Messrs. Douglas and Lincoln on the Stump
Messrs. Douglas and Lincoln the rival candidates for the U. S. Senate in Illinois, have arranged to hold seven public debates with each other in different parts of the State. The first of them took place at Ottawa on Saturday last, in presence of an immense attendance, estimated at twelve thousand. Great interest was exhibited by the multitude, and the champions were loudly cheered and applauded by their respective friends. Mr. Douglas spoke first for an hour; then Mr. Lincoln for an hour-and-a-half; and finally Mr. Douglas for half an hour in closing. The whole debate is reported in full in the Chicago papers, but is of course too voluminous for our space. Our readers, however, will doubtless be glad to understand the basis upon which the campaign is carried on in Illinois, and accordingly we make an extract from each of the speeches, copying from the report in the Chicago Press and Tribune of the 23d inst.
The republicans were delighted with the effect of the day's debate. Mr. Lincoln was most vociferously cheered throughout, and at the conclusion of the debate it is stated that "he was seized by the multitude and borne off on their shoulders in the center of a crowd of five thousand shouting republicans with a band of music in front." Judge Douglas, on his part, was cordially supported by his friends.
[Baltimore, Md., Sun August 27, 1858]
THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN IN ILLINOIS
Joint Discussion between Douglas and Lincoln.—Large Turnout.—An Amusing Sketch
The political campaign in Illinois is becoming decidedly warm and interesting, and begins to attract no little attention throughout the country. We find in the New York Express a letter dated Ottawa, Ill., August 21st, from which we select a few extracts:
The representatives of republicanism and democracy in this State—Mr. Lincoln and Judge Douglas—met at this place by appointment to-day, and had a public discussion before an immense concourse of people, on the great questions that agitate the State. Both speakers are able; both have the warmest personal and political adherents, and attract great attention where-ever they appear. The number in Ottawa to-day, brought together chiefly from the surrounding country—though many came from distant parts of the State—could not be less than 20,000.
There is no comparison in my judgement between the two speakers. Judge Douglas stands erect, and has the bearing, the presence and the thoughts of a statesman who aims at the welfare of the whole country. Mr. Lincoln throws himself into all manner of shapes when speaking, and represents a narrow idea. Judge Douglas could say what he says at the furthest North and, throughout the South. Mr. Lincoln could not find hearers south of the Potomac on the doctrines he professes.
[St. Louis, Mo., Morning Herald, August 24, 1858]
Chicago, III., August 22nd, 1858
Leaving St. Louis on Friday morning, the 20th instant, at 6 o'clock a. m., we arrived at Ottawa the same night at 1 o'clock—thanks to the gentlemanly and obliging conductors of the St. Louis, Alton and Terre Haute, and Illinois Central Railroads, over which we traveled.
On Saturday morning the country people were seen coming into town to be present at the political discussion between Douglas and Lincoln.
Lincoln arrived from Morris shortly before 12 o'clock m., and afterwards Douglas came into town from Peru.
Several hundred persons had congregated at the Geiger House to see the procession pass, and although Ottawa is claimed to be a Republican district, yet not a cheer was heard as Lincoln passed by with his escort: but when Douglas arrived near the same place, he was greeted with loud and continued cheering.
At about half past 2 o'clock Douglas commenced the discussion, speaking one hour. Lincoln replied in a speech of one hour and a half, and then Douglas rejoined, speaking half an hour.
It was evident, from the manner in which the candidates were received on mounting the stump, that the Lincoln men were in the majority, and this idea seemed to be substantiated from the applause Lincoln received during the speech, and on concluding, he sat down apparently well pleased with himself.
But when Douglas rejoined in his speech of half an hour, he carried with him almost the entire crowd. He propounded several questions to Lincoln, which Lincoln could not or would not answer. Among the questions he asked L. if he would sustain the resolutions or platform adopted by the Republican Convention at Springfield, in 1854; but Lincoln remained silent and did not answer, and his smiling face changed considerably when he saw he was cornered.
Lincoln had denied in his speech that he took any part in that Convention, although his name was on one of the Committees. But
Douglas brought forward proofs to show that Lincoln had supported that platform, and, said Douglas, "I will yet bring Mr. Lincoln to his milk on that point."
At this time matters changed considerably, and hundreds of those who had been applauding Lincoln all along, now turned and applauded Douglas.
At the conclusion of the discussion Douglas was surrounded by an immense crowd and escorted to the Geiger House, amid the loudest cheers.Thus ended the first of the seven discussions to be held at various places in the State, in which both candidates are to take part; and if Douglas commences by triumphing in a Republican district, Lincoln may as well hang up his hat, take a back seat, and wait until 1860, as Douglas will then be President; and then Mr. Lincoln may make another effort for an election to the United States Senate, without having a Douglas to contend with.
[Chicago Press and Tribune, August 23, 1858]
GREAT DEBATE BETWEEN LINCOLN
AND DOUGLAS AT OTTAWA
Twelve Thousand Persons Present.—The Dred Scott Champion Pulverized.—Verbatim Report of Dougflas' Speech.—Lincoln's Reply and Douglas' Rejoinder
From sunrise till high noon on Saturday, Ottawa was deluged in dust. The first of the seven great debates which Douglas had consented to hold with Lincoln, had started LaSalle, Will, Kendall, Grundy, Kankakee, Cook and other surrounding counties, in unwonted commotion. Before breakfast Ottawa was beleaguered with a multiplying host from all points of the compass. At eight o'clock the streets and avenues resembled a vast smoke house. Teams, trains and processions poured in from every direction like an army with banners. National flags, mottoes and devices fluttered and stared from every street corner. Military companies and bands of music monopolized the thoroughfares around the Court House and the public square. Two brass twelve-pounders banged away in the center of the city and drowned the hubbub of the multitude with their own higher capacities for hubbub, Vanity Fair never boiled with madder enthusiasm.
At eleven o'clock two long processions were formed, one marching
to the depot of the Rock Island Railroad, where Mr. Lincoln was expected to arrive, and the other moving down the road towards Peru whence Mr. Douglas was advertised to come. As the first procession was crossing the canal, an enormous canal boat was moored near the bridge, crowded with men and women. In the bow was a large banner inscribed:
THE CORPORATION OF MARSEILLES
In a few minutes another boat appeared from Morris with a similar crowd and similar devices.
Shortly after twelve o'clock a special train from Chicago, Joliet, etc., came in with seventeen cars. When it reached the depot, three deafening cheers were repeated and re-repeated until the woods and bluffs rang again. Mr. Lincoln was placed in a carriage beautifully decorated with evergreens and mottoes by the young ladies of Ottawa, and escorted by the procession, over half a mile in length, with military companies and bands of music, from the depot to the public square, around the square and to the residence of Mayor Glover. Enormous crowds blocked the streets and side-walks through which the procession moved, and the shouts of the multitude rolled from end to end, around the street corners and across the bridge, in a continuous tumult. When Mr. Lincoln's carriage stopped at the Mayor's residence, three mighty cheers were given and the crowd scattered miscellaneously for dinner.
The Douglas procession moved down the Peru road to Buffalo Rock, where they met the pro-slavery champion, whom they escorted to the Geiger House. The procession was about half as long as that which waited on Mr. Lincoln, and the enthusiasm was almost wholly confined to the Irish Catholics.
At one o'clock, the crowd commenced pouring into the public square. The rush was literally tremendous. The speaking stand had been foolishly left ungarded, and was so crowded with people, before the officers of the day arrived, that half an hour was consumed in a battle to make room for the speakers and reporters. Even then the accomodations were of the most wretched character. Two or three times the surge of people on the platform nearly drove the reporters off, and half a dozen clowns on the roof broke through some of the boards and let them down of the heads of the Reception Committees.
The whole number of persons present could not have been less than twelve thousand. Large numbers were present from Chicago, Galena, Springfield, Peoria, Quincy, Rock Island, Bloomington, Alton and other distant towns. The crowd was considerably larger on the ground than that which assembled in this city on the night of Douglas' opening speech.
Mr. Douglas's speech
At half past two, Mr. Douglas took the front of the platform, amid the cheers of the Hibernians, who had fought their way to the front, and said:
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
Mr. Lincoln's reply
Mr. Lincoln then came forward and was greeted with loud and protracted cheers from fully two-thirds of the audience. This was admitted by the Douglas men on the platform. It was some minutes before he could make himself heard, even by those on the stand. At last he said:
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
When Lincoln had concluded his masterly and crushing indictment and conviction, amidst the applause of thousands of voices, Douglas sprang to his feet to reply. His face was livid with passion and excitement. All his plans had been demolished, himself placed in the criminal's box to answer to an indictment, and make head against a mountain of damning testimony heaped up against him by his antagonist. We have never seen a human face so distorted with rage. He resembled a wild beast in looks and gesture, and a maniac in language and argument. He made no adequate reply to the heavy charges brought against him, save to call everybody "liars" who alleged to believe them. He finished up by renewing his miserable charges and repeatin his irrelevant questions, and claiming with a grand flourish, that Lincoln had not refuted the one nor answered the other; boasted that he had won the victory, and threatened what awful things he would do when he would next meet Lincoln at Freeport. The bodyguard of five or six hundred Irish Papists stood close by him yelling and cheering at all he said, perfectly indifferent whether it was sound sense or wild raving.
It was the opinion of every unprejudiced listener, that Douglas
would give a year off the end of his life if he could escape meeting Lincoln at the six discussions through which he must pass.
At the conclusion of the debate, when Mr. Lincoln walked down from the platform, he was seized by the multitude and borne off on their shoulders, in the center of a crowd of five thousand shouting Republicans, with a band of music in front. The Chicago delegation scattered for the cars, and so ended the Great Debate.
[Missouri Republican, St. Louis, August 29, 1858]
Chicago, August 23, 1858
The contest between Douglas and Lincoln seems to be the one matter of interest among the good people of Chicago at present; and the chances of either candidate form the reigning topic of conversation in every crowd. Saturday was a day of considerable excitment here, and little was talked of except the pitched battle between the two political champions at Ottawa. Early in the morning, large masses of the people gathered around the Rock Island depot, and the trains, both regular and extra, were crammed to their utmost capacity with excursionists to the great gathering.
Upon the arrival of the trains, it was estimated that there were present some four thousand people, all of whom came from their fields, workshops, counting rooms, and offices, to evince their interest in the great struggle of the two great parties for predominance. I presume no mass meeting of the present canvass has been composed of a more respectable class.
Douglas made the opening speech, which was a calm, deliberate and logical argument, of one hour, during which the people listened to him with much the same calmness which characterized the speech—all seeming much interested, but not excited.
Lincoln followed, in one of his characteristic efforts, interlarding his address with funny anecdotes, droll expressions and frequent witticisms, which soon put to flight the gravity which had reigned during the previous hour; and many were the outbursts of applause which his clever hits drew forth. He punched the "Little Giant" right and left, and dealt him many a well aimed thrust of keen satire, whereat, as your local man would say, "ye congregation did betray an unseemlie lack of gravitie." But the aforesaid "Giant" didn't seem to be
otherwise affected than as a young bull by an attack of gad flies, which one whisk of his capacious tail can put to flight. Like the bull, he was sufficiently irritated by the infliction to rouse his pugnacity, and when it came to his turn to reply, "pre-haps" he didn't make the "har" fly! When "Uncle Abe," as the Tribune dubs him, rounded a sentence he was greeted with a merry outburst of humorous applause, but as blow after blow and thrust after thrust was dealt by the Judge, not ebullitions of merriment, but loud, long and sturdy shouts of triumph, rent the air, and when he concluded, the satisfaction which glowed upon the contenances of the hardy yeomen, who composed the principal part of the audience, testified that his last hour had been well occupied.
[Peoria, III., Transcript, August 24, 1858]
THE GREAT DEBATE AT OTTAWA
Twelve Thousand Persons Present.—Lincoln's Triumphant Vindication of Republican Principles.—The Giant Slain
(Editorial Correspondence of the Transcript)
Saturday Evening, Aug. 21
Such was the enthusiasm of the masses over Mr. Lincoln's triumph that as soon as the debate had closed and he had stepped from the platform, he was immediately by an immense crowd, numbering at least five thousand persons, lifted upon the shoulders of two stout men, and was borne about the streets, a band of music leading off with "Hail Columbia," while the vast multitude followed in broken column shouting "Hurrah for Lincoln" as they went.
Such was the interest in this face-to-face encounter of Lincoln and Douglas, that the masses flocked here from every quarter of the State. The Chicago special train numbering seventeen cars arrived, all crammed with the crowd to the fullest capacity. Thousands of people came pouring into town in wagons, boats, &c., the various delegations bearing banners and accompanied by bands of music. The debate came off in a vacant square near the center of the city. When we arrived upon the ground the crowd, numbering at least 12,000 persons, was pressing towards the speaker's stand in great confusion. The
stand itself was besieged by a boorish multitude whom the committee of arrangements were vainly endeavoring to drive off in order to make room for the speakers and reporters. Half an hour having been thus spent, Mr. Douglas took his position and commenced speaking. The whole speech was delivered in a coarse, vulgar, boisterous style, and excepting among a body-guard of roaring Irish Catholics, it was received with silent disgust.
Lincoln came forward and commenced his reply amid thunders of applause. He disposed of Douglas' questions and charges in the most summary manner, and then entered at once and with great earnestness of manner into a consideration of the real questions in issue. He brought up the charge of conspiracy against Mr. Douglas, drove it home upon him, and wedged it there. Lincoln's speech was an admirable effort. It was high-toned and honorable, bold, pungent and powerful. He made his antagonist wince at every turn, and the vast audience manifested their appreciation of his success by shouts of exultation and applause.—When he had finished, the universal feeling was that he had made a masterly effort—that he had, in fact, completely demolished the little giant.
Douglas sprung to his feet in reply, and it was evident that he felt that his case was a desperate one. I never looked upon a countenance so livid with excitement and brutal passions.—He looked and acted like a wild beast, and what he said resembled the ravings of a maniac more than the reasonings of a sane man—The heavy charges of Lincoln were not disproved, nor attempted to be, but he bellowed the lie, fell back upon his forgery in relation to the Springfield resolutions, boasted that he had won the victory, threatened what he would hereafter do, and retired in a perfectly uncontrollable rage. As he went off of the platform, his Irish body-guard accompanied him to his hotel, and the crowd soon followed bearing Lincoln in triumph.
L. R. W.
[Illinois State Register, August 24, 1858]
DOUGLAS AND LINCOLN—THE DEBATE AT OTTAWA
12,000 People Witness the Rout of Lincoln!—Douglas Again Triumphant!—Lincoln on the Sick List!!—He Shirks the Republican Platform
—The assemblage of the people was an immense one—there being between ten and twelve thousand present. The two orators were received in town, by their respective friends, about noon.—Mr. Lincoln passed up the night before, to Morris, and came down by the railroad, with the crowd from Cook, Will, &c. Mr Douglas left the road three miles west of the town, and came up in a carriage, escorted by the democratic committee. When about two miles from town he was met by an immense procession, bearing flags and banners, with eloquent mottoes, speaking the hearty welcome of the LaSalle democracy, and attesting their loyalty to the good old cause.—This procession of carriages, wagons, buggies, horsemen and footmen was quite a mile and a half long, swelling in numbers as it approached the town. When the head of this procession reached the center of the town, the republican escort, with Mr. Lincoln, was met. Each wended its way, by different routes, through the principal streets. The democratic procession escorted Mr. Douglas to the Geiger House, where he was welcomed in a neat address by Hon. W. H. W. Cushman; the republicans escorted Mr. Lincoln to the Mansion House. The town was fairly alive with people, and with their shouts and hurras for their respective favorites, a constant roar was kept up. But there was no mistaking, notwithstanding the preponderance of the republican element in that quarter of the state, as shown by the election of '56, to whom popular attention was directed. Compared with the hearty welcome to Douglas the efforts of the republicans to make a show for Lincoln was a sickly affair.—There was no heart nor hope in it.
In addition to the large attendance from LaSalle, the surrounding counties sent large delegations, and when the whole appeared upon the square, where the speaker's stand was erected, the crowd presented a most imposing appearance. Having dined, the two speakers were escorted to the stand by their party committees. Mr. Douglas commenced about 21⁄2 o'clock and spoke an hour. It is not our intention to go over the line of his argument or that of Mr. Lincoln. We shall lay the whole debate before our readers. It is sufficient now to say that Judge D., after reviewing the general points he has previously made during the present canvass, took up the republican platform as first enunciated in this state, in state convention in this city in October 1854, which platform was reported by a committee of which Mr. Lincoln was a member, as shown by the convention's proceedings. On Thursday last we published the principal resolution of that plat
form—which declares for the repeal of the fugitive slave law; against the admission of any more slave states, and for extending "the Wilmot" over all the territories. Upon this Mr. Douglas descanted at length. He dissected the abolition thing, and showed up to his immense audience the infamous political heresies it embodied. Every word told, as the responses of the crowd fairly proved. He contrasted this platform of Mr. Lincoln with that of the democracy. Never was he more eloquent—never were his arguments more closely made or more pungently delivered.
We are inclined to the opinion that Mr. Lincoln was not prepared to get into the debate in this shape. He was crammed with a speech suited to a defensive one from Douglas, but he found himself with a fire not only in his front, but in his rear and on both flanks. He was surrounded, and driven on to his own narrow sectional platform, which was completely "honey-combed" by the heavy shots of his antagonist. This was too hot a place for our ambitious townsman. He denied being the author of the platform, stumbled, floundered, and instead of the speech that he had prepared to make, bored his audience by using up a large portion of his time reading from a speech of 1854, of his own. He did not "face the music" upon the points made by Douglas. He neither confessed nor denied—he only blundered, and broke down, lacking fifteen minutes of making out the time alloted to him—an hour and a half. He evidently felt, himself, that he had signally failed, and exposed the weakness of his position. Certainly his hearers, including his own supporters, were satisfied of it.
The half hour reply of Mr. Douglas was a biting commentary upon the shuffling of Mr. Lincoln. From beginning to the end the wool flew. He riddled Lincoln's sophistries, ridiculed his evasions, and nailed him fast to the platform of '54, which Lincoln endeavored to creep out of.—Lincoln withered before the bold, lucid and eloquent argumentation, and writhed under the sharp invective of Douglas. So triumphant was the rejoinder, that, at the conclusion, almost as one man, the immense crowd thundered their appreciation of it. The cheers were absolutely deafening. As Mr. D. left the stand nearly the entire crowd pressed around him, and the living mass, with shouts and hurras bore him, in their midst, to the hotel, the cheering and shouting being kept up incessantly, until Mr. D., by dint of great exertion, got into the building. Just here a scene was enacted that would really have been a "study" for a Hogarth. After the great
mass had left the ground, with Mr. Lincoln and his committee looking on, with the look of a boy who had "let a bird go," Mr. L. was seized upon by a dozen or more sturdy republicans, who put him on their shoulders, and, preceded by a band, and surrounded by a lonesome squad of fifty or a hundred, tailed in after the mass of people, who had halted, blocking up the street about the Geiger House. This funereal escort passed through the crowd and bore Mr. L., to his quarters, which were in another direction, with his long arms about his carriers' shoulders, his long legs dangling nearly to the ground, while his long face was an incessant contortion to wear a winning smile that succeeded in being only a ghastly one.—But the dust may have been productive of this effect. It was really not a pretty picture, though hugely an amusing one; but Mr. L., like ourself, is not good material for the former. We suppose that this farce was deemed necessary as an afterpiece to the three act tragedy on the stand. "The impalement of Hon. Abraham Lincoln."—It was in full keeping with that gentleman's tailing tactics since the commencement of the canvass.
The result of the debate at Ottawa, as the reader will admit on perusing it, was a most overwhelming overthrow of Mr. Lincoln. It places him in his true attitude before the people of the state, which no shuffling or pettifogging dodging can get him out of. He will be forced to stand square up to his abolition platform or back clear down. At Ottawa he beat an inglorious retreat, and shirked the issue at the first joust in the lists of his own suggestion.
We shall probably be able to give the debate in tomorrow's Register.
[Chicago Times, August 22, 1858]
THE CAMPAIGN—DOUGLAS AMONG THE PEOPLE
Joint Discussion at Ottawa.—Lincoln Breaks Down.—Enthusiasm of the People!—The Battle Fought and Won.—Lincoln's Heart Fails Him!—Lincoln's Legs Fail Him!—Lincoln's Tongue Fails Him!—Lincoln's Arms Fail Him!—Lincoln Fails All Over!!—The People Refuse to Support Him!—The People Laugh at Him!—Douglas the Champion of the People!—Douglas Skins the "Living Dog."—The "Dead Lion" Frightens the Canine.— Douglas "Trotting" Lincoln Out.—Douglas "Concludes" on Abe
On Saturday, the first of the scries of joint discussions between Lincoln and Douglas took place at Ottawa. Below we publish a full report of the speeches. Page:Lincolndouglas2184linc.djvu/192 Page:Lincolndouglas2184linc.djvu/193 Page:Lincolndouglas2184linc.djvu/194 Page:Lincolndouglas2184linc.djvu/195
- The speeches in this debate have been reprinted from the Follett, Foster & Co. edition of 1860, and all the interruptions, omitted in that edition, have been added from the newspaper reports, those in Douglas' speeches from the official Democratic report in the Chicago Times, and those in Lincoln's speeches from the official Republican report in the Chicago Press and Tribune. All variants in the text (except those of capitalization and punctuation) from these official reports have been noticed in the footnotes. From an examination of these, it will be seen that Lincoln did not make any important changes In his speeches, and that the editors were very fair in their reprint of the speeches of his opponent.
- Reads: "endorsing" for "indorsing."
- Reads: "endorsed" for "indorsed."
- Reads: "endorsed" for "indorsed."
- Reads: "Ford, Douglass" for "Fred Douglass."
- Reads: "is" for "are."
- Reads: "resolution" for "resolutions."
- Reads: "acquirements" for "acquirement."
- Reads: "is first prohibited."
- Read: "is" for "are."
- Reads: "and both."
- Reads: "than anything else."
- Reads: "and which."
- Reads: "That" for "the."
- Reads: "formed" for "framed."
- Reads: "awards."
- Reads: "towards" for "toward."
- Reads: "Lincoln's."
- Reads: "Allegheny" for "Alleghany."
- These resolutions are deliberate forgeries by Mr. Douglas. None such were passed by the Sprinfield convention nor anything like them.—(Ed. Press and Tribune.)
- Inserts "one" after "either."
- Reads: "in" for "of."
- Reads: "when" for "then."
- This extract from Mr. Lincoln's Peoria speech of 1854 was read by him in the Ottawa debate, but was not reported fully or accurately in either Times or Press Tribune. It is inserted now as necessary to a complete report of the debate. (This note appeared in the Foliet, Foster & Co. edition, 1860. The whole quotation was omitted in the Press and Tribune to the paragraph beginning "When Southern people tell...." and the omission was noted, and even the rest was quoted very incorrectly.—Editor.
- This clause was not reported in the Tribune account.
- Reads: "eliminates."
- Reads: "plan."
- Reads: "on" for "of."
- Omits: "that."
- Reads: "attention" for "question."
- Reads: "endorsed" for "indorsed."
- Reads "endorsed" for "indorsed."
- Omits "States."
- Reads: "having" for "to have."