Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

which marked this canvass, Mr. Douglas should have been thrown off his guard by the singular self-possession displayeù by his antagonist, and by the imperturbable firmness with which he maintained and defended a position once assumed. The unassuming confidence which marked Mr. Lincoln's conduct was early imparted to his upporters, and each succeeding encounter added largely to the number of his friends, until they began to indulge the hope that a triumph might be secured in spite of the adverse circumstances under which the struggle was commenced. And so it would have been, had party lines been more strictly drawn. But the action of Mr. Douglas with reference to the Lecompton Constitution when it was before the United States Senate, and the bitter hostility of the southern wing of the Democratic party to wards him, had led very many Republicans, and some of nigh consideration and influence in other States, to favor his return to the Senate. They deemed this due to the real and efficiency with which he had resisted the attempt to force slavery into Kansas against the will of the people, and as important in encouraging other Democratic Leaders to imitate the example of Douglas in throwing off the yoke of the slaveholding aristocracy. This feeling proved to be of much weight against Mr. Lincoln in the

canvass.

In the election which took place on November 2d, the popular vote stood as follows:

Republican .
Douglas Democrat...
Lecompton Democrat.

126,084 121,940

5,091

Mr. Lincoln, therefore, had the people been permitted to decide the question directly, would have been returned to the Senate, since he had a plurality of four thousand one hundred and forty-four votes over Mr. Douglas; but the State legislature was the tribunal that was to pass finally upon it; and there, fortunately for the country, as the future showed, but unfortunately for Mr. Lincoln

at that time, the Democrats had secured an advantage, by means of an unfair districting of the State, which it was impossible to overcoine. Notwithstanding the immense gains made by the Republicans, their opponents had, in the upper branch of this body, fourteen members to their eleven, while in the lower House these two parties stood forty Democrats to thirty-five Republicans. This state of affairs secured Mr. Douglas a re-election, although the fact that he was fairly beaten on the popular vote, robbed his triumph of much of its lustre. An overruling Prov idence, the workings of which can now be clearly traced, but which were then inscrutable, by securing this result, ultimately gave the nation for its chief magistrate the man best fitted to carry it sately througb the most trying period of its history.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER III.

MR. LINCOLN AND THE PRESIDENCY.

Tas CAMPAIGN OF 1859 IN OH10.--MR. LINCOLN'S SPEECHES AT COLUMBTI

AND OINOINNATI.-His VISIT TO THE East.-IN NEW YORK Orty.-Tui GREAT SPEECH AT Cooper INSTITUTE.—MR. LINCOLN NOMINATED FOR THE PRESIDENOY.-His ELECTION.

CHEERFULLY resigning himself to the fortunes of political warfare, Mr. Lincoln, upon the close of this canvass, returned to the practice of his profession. But he was not long allowed to remain in retirement. In the autumn of 1859 the Democrats of Ohio nominated Mr. Pugh as their candidate for governor, and to repay the fidelity with which he had followed his standard, as well as in the hope of securing important advantages for the democracy, Mr. Douglas was enlisted in the canvass. The Republicans at once appealed to Mr. Lincoln to come to their assistance. He promptly responded to the invitation to meet his cld antagonist, and more than sustained his great reputation by two speeches, one delivered at Columbus and the other at Cincinnati. Not fully satis fied with the position in which the close of the canvass in Mlinois had left his favorite doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, Mr. Douglas had secured the insertion in Harper's Magazine of an elaborate and carefully prepared article explaining his views at length. Mr. Lincoln's speech at Columbus was a most masterly review of this paper. After replying briefly to the identically stale charges which Mr. Douglas had so often repeated during the canvass in Illinois, and which he had reiterated in a speech delivered at Columbus a few days previously, Mr. Lin. coln addressed himself to the task he had in hand, as fol- : lows :

The Republican party, as I understand its principles and policy, believe that there is great danger of the institution of slavery being spread ont

and extended, until it is ultimately made alike lawful in all the States of this Union; so believing, to prevent that incidental and ultimate consum mation, is the original and chief purpose of the Republican organization I say “chief purpose" of the Republican organization; for it is certainly true that if the National House shall fall into the hands of the Republicans, they will have to attend to all the other matters of national house-keeping as well as this. The chief and real purpose of the Republican party , is eminently conservative. It proposes nothing save and except to restore this Government to its original tone in regard to this element of slavery, and there to maintain it, looking for no further change in reference to it than that which the original framers of the Government themselves expected and looked forward to.

The chief danger to this purpose of the Republican party is not just now the revival of the African slave-trade, or the passage of a Congressional slave-code, or the declaring of a second Dred Scott decision, making slavery lawful in all the States. These are not pressing us just now. They are not quite ready yet. The authors of these measures know that we are too strong for them; but they will be upon us in due time, and we will be grappling with them hand to hand, if they are not now headed off. They are not now the chief danger to the purpose of the Republican organization; but the most imminent danger that now threatens that pure pose is that insidious Douglas Popular Sovereignty. This is the mines

While it does not propose to revive the African slave-trade, nor to pass a slave-coile, nor to make a second Dred Scott decision, it is preparing us for the onslanght and charge of these ultimate enemies when they shall be ready to come on, and the word of command for them to advance shall be given. I say this Douglas Popular Sovereignty-for there is a broad distinction, as I now understand it, between that article and a genuine Popular Sovereignty.

I believe there is a genuine popular sovereignty. I think a definition of genuine popular sovereignty, in the abstract, would be alont this:; That each man shall do precisely as he pleases with himself, and with all those things which exclusively concern him. Applied to Government, this principle would be, that a General Government shall do all those things whicb pertain to it, and all the local Governments shall do precisely as they please in respect to those matters which exclusively concern them. I understand that this Government of the United States, under which we live, is based upon this principle; and I am misunderstood if it is supposed that I have any war to make upon that principle.

Now, what is Judge Douglas's Popular Sovereignty? It is, as a prin. ciple, no other than that, if one man chooses to make a s'eve of another man, neither that other man nor anybody else has a right to objecte Applied in Government, as he seeks to apply it, it is this : If, in a new Territory into which a few people are beginning to enter for the purpose or making their homes, they choose to either exclude slavery from their

and sapper.

limits or to establish it there, however one or the other may affect the persons to be enslaved, or the infinitely greater number of persons who are afterward to inhabit that Territory, or the other members of the families of communities, of which they are but an incipient member, or tho general head of the family of States, as parent of all—however their action may affect one or the other of these, there is no power or right to ictcrfere. That is Douglas's Popular Sovereignty applied.

ile has a good deal of trouble with Popular Sovereignty. His explana vus explanatory of explanations explained are interminable. The most lengthy, and, as I suppose, the most maturely considered of his long series of explanations, is his great essay in Harper's Magazine.

This exordium was followed by a speech which will rank among the ablest efforts of Mr. Lincoln. argument in which great sarcasm and humor were characleristically intermingled, he thoroughly exposed the fallacy of the positions taken by Mr. Douglas, and in conclusion, after again warning his hearers against the iosidious dangers of this doctrine of popular sovereignty, wid :

Did you ever, five years ago, hear of anybody in the world aaying that Io negro had no share in the Declaration of National Independence; that it did not mean negraes at all; and when “all men” were spoken of, negroes were not included ?

I am satisfied that five years ago that proposition was not put upon paper by any living being anywhere. I have been unable at any time to find a man in an audience who would declare that he had ever known of anybody saying so five years ago. But last year there was not a Douglas popular sovereign in Illinois who did not say it. Is there one in Ohio but declares his firm belief that the Declaration of Independence did not mean negroes at all? I do not know how this is; I have not been here much; but I presume you are very much aliko everywhere. Then I suppose that all now express the belief that the Declaration of Independence never did mean negroes. I call upon one of them to say that he said it five years ago.

If you think that now, and did not think it then, tne next thing that strikes me is to remark that there has been a change wrought in you, and a very significant change it is, being no less than changing the negro, in your estimation, from the rank of a man to that of a brute. They sio taking him down, and placing him, when spoken of, among reptiles and crocodiles, as Judge Douglas himself expresses it.

Is not this change wrought in your minas a very important change! Public opinion in this country is every thing. In a nation like ours, this popular sovereignty and squatter sovereignty have already wrought

« ZurückWeiter »