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CHAPTER II.

THE LINCOLN DOUGLAS DEBATE.

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIJN OF 1856. DOUGLAS AT SPRINGFIELD) IN 1887.

LINCOLN'S REPLY. THE GREAT DEBATE.--ELOQUENT DEFENOE OF TR7 DOCTRINES OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY,--RESULT OF THE CONTEST.

The pressure of the slavery contest at last fully organ ized the Republican party, which held its first convention for the nomination of President and Vice-President at Philadelphia, on June 17, 1856. John C. Fremont was nominated for President, and William L. Dayton for Vice-President. Mr. Lincoln's name was prominent be. fore the convention for the latter office, and on the infor mal ballot he stood next to Mr. Dayton, receiving 110 votes. Mr. Lincoln's name headed the Republican electoral ticket in Illinois, and he took an active part in the canvass, but the Democrats carried the State, though only by a plurality vote.

Meanwhile, Senator Douglas embraced every opportunity to keep himself and his doctrines before the people, but whichever way he turned, he found his vigilant antagonist constantly in his front. For twenty years the two had been so invariably opposed to each other in politics, that whenever Mr. Douglas made a speech, the people instinctively anticipated a reply from Mr. Lincoln; and there was a special Providence in thus opposing to the wily, deceptive sophistries of the former the clear, incisive common sense of the latter, which the multitude could not avoid comprehending. Early in June, 1957, Senator Douglas made his famous speech in Springfield, which was universally accepted as a declara , tion that he meant to sustain all the acts of the Lecompton Convention, ey

pro-slavery constitution

should be formed, the responsibility for the adoption of which he meant to fasten upon the Republican party, since it was anticipated that the members of that organ. ization in the Territory would refrain from voting. He fuirther indorsed the Dred Scott decision in this same speech, and, in discussing the Utah rebellion, proposed to end the difficulty by annulling the act establishing the Territory. Mr. Lincoln promptly took issue with him apon all these points, in a speech also delivered at Springfield, twr weeks later. He declared himself in favor of "coercing” the people of Utah into obedience, and while he "did not admit or deny that the Judge's method of coercing them might not be as good as any,” he showed how Mr. Douglas abandoned his principles, and “his much-vaunted doctrine of self-government for the Territories," by suggesting such a plan. He then defended the course of action which the Republicans in Kansas had adopted, and ridiculed mercilessly the mythical “Free State Democrats," uj whom so much had been said. Next he discussed the Dred Scott decision, and showed that, in denouncing it, he had not gone so far as Mr. Douglas himself had done in applauding General Jackson for disregarding the decision of the same tribunal upon the constitutionality of the National Bank. Qusting from the Dred Scott decision some expressions in which Chief-Justice Taney intimated that the public estimate of ihe black man was more favorable then than it was in the days of the revolution, Mr. Lincoln replied to the impli. cation in the following forcible manner :

This assumption is a mistake. In some trifling particulars the condiaun of that race has been ameliorated; but, as a whole, in this country, the change between then and now is decidedly tłio other way; and their ultimate destiny has never appeared so hopeless as in the last three or four years. In two of the five States-New Jersey and North Carolina that the gave the free negro the right of voting, the right has since been taken away; and in the third-New York—it has been greatly abridged, while it has not been extended, so far as I know, to a single additional Btate, though the number of the States bas more than doubled. In those says, 49 I understand, masters could, at their own pleasure, enigncipata their sisres; but, since then, such legal restraint have been made apou

emancipation as to amount almost to prohibition. In those days, legis latures held the unquestioned power to abolish slavery in their respective States; but now it is becoming quite fashionable for State constitutions to withhold that power from the legislatures. In those days, by coinmon consent, the spread of the black man's bondage to the new countries was prohibited; but now, Congress decides that it will r.ot continue the prohibition, and the Supreme Court decides that it could not, if it would. In those days, our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all, ped thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the bondage of the begro universal and eternal, it is assailed, sneered at, construed, hawkel at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it. All the powers of earth see n rapidly combining against him. Mammon is after him; ambition follows, philosoplry for lows, and the theology of the day is fast joining the cry. They hare hiin in his prison-house; they have searched his person, and left no prying instrument with him. One after another they have closed the heavy iron doors upon him; and now they have him, as it were, bolted in with a lock of a hundred keys, which can never be unlocked without the concurrence of every key; the keys in the hands of a hundred different men, and they scattered to a hundred different and distant places; and tbey stand musing as to what invention, in all the dominions of mind and matter, can be produced to make the impossibility of his escape more complete than it is.

It is grossly incorrect to say or assume that the public estimate of the negro is more favorable now than it was at the origin of the Government.

No one would have been more surprised than Mr. Lin. coln himself, could the fact have been revealed to him, when uttering these words, that through him as an humble instrument in the hands of Pror'ence, and in the brief space of eight years, a vartphould be brought about in the status of that can be sufferings and wrongs he thus eloguerily op dat,

In this same speeca? 1. Siga turned from the course of his argument fra czć, to demolish, in his characteristic manda", Csurd charge which his opponent had demes.ca 'jinself by repeating, that, in laboring to secar Anuno his rights, the Republicans desired to

ek is on a complete political and social equality with scives. He said :

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aid Jidge Dong'as evidently is basing his chief hope upon the chances of his being able to appropriate the benefit of this disgust to himself. If ho can, by much drumming and repeating, fasten the odium of that idea upon his adversaries, he thinks he can struggle through the storm. He therefore clings to this hope, as a drowning man to the last plank. He makes an occasion for lugging it in from the opposition to the Dred Scott decision. He finds the Republicans insisting that the Declaration of Inpependence includes all men, black as well as white, and forthwith he boldly denies that it includes negroes at all, and proceeds to argue gravoly that all who contend that it does, do so only because they want to vote, eat and sleep, and marry with negroes! He will have it that they cannot be consistent else. Now, I protsst against the counterteit lugic which concludes that, because I do not want a black woman for å slave, I must. necessarily want her for a wife. I need not have her for either. I can just leave her alone. In soine respects, she certainly is not my equal; but in hur natural right to eat the bread she earns with her own hands, without asking leave of any one else, she is my equal, and the equal of all others.

We have thus presented the leading points in these two speeches, because the discussion was the prelude to the famous Senatorial contest of 1858, which gave Mr. Jincoln a national reputation, not only as an able debater and eloquent orator, but as a sagacious and wise politician-wise enough to stand inflexibly by principles of the soundness of which he was himself satisfied, even against the judgment of earnest friends.

On the 4th of March, 1857, Mr. Buchanan had taken his seat in the Presidential chair. The struggle between freedom and slavery for the possession of Kansas was at its height. A few days after his inauguration, the Supreme Court rendered the Dred Scott decision, which was thought by the friends of slavery to insure their victory, by its holding the Missouri Compromise to be unconstitutional, because the Constitution itself carried slavery all over the Territories of the United States. In spite of this decision, the friends of freedom in Kansas maintained their ground. The - slaveholders, however, pushed for ward their schemes, and in November, 1857, their Constitutional Convention, held at Lecompton, adopted the Lecompton Constitution. The trick by which they sub bitted to the popular vote only a schedule on the slavery

quesiion, instead of the whole Constitution, compelling every voter, however he anight vote upon this schedule, to vote for their Constitution, which fixed slavery upon the State just as surely, whether the schedule was adopted or not, will be well remembered, as well as the feeling which so unjust a device excited throughout the North. Judge Douglas had sustained the Dred Scott decision, but he could not sustain this attempt to force upon the people of Kansas a Constitution against their will. He took ground openly and boldly against it-denouncing it in the Senate and elsewhere as an outrage upon the people of Kansas, and a violation of every just Democratic principle. He declared that he did not care whether the people voted the Slavery clause “up or down,” but he thought they ought to have the chance to vote for or against the Constitution itself.

The Administration had made the measure their own, and this opposition of Douglas at once excited against him the active hostility of the slaveholders and their friends, with whom he had hitherto acted in concert. The bill was finally passed through Congress on April 30th, 1858, under what is known as the English Bill whereby the Constitution was to be submitted to the votes of the people of Kansas, with the offer of heavy bribes to them, in the way of donations of land, etc., if they would accept it; and the people, in spite of the bribes, voted it down by an immense majority.

Judge Douglas's term was on the eve of expiring, and he came home to Illinois after the adjournment of Con. gress, to attend in person to the political campaign, upon the result of which was to depend his re-election to the Senate.

His course on the Lecompton bill had made an opeu breach between him and the Administration, and he had rendered such good service to the Republicans, in their battle with that monstrous infamy, that there were not wanting many among them who were inclined to think it would be wise not to oppose his re-election.

But the Republicans of Illinois thonght otherwise

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