Benson John Lossing.

Harper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) online

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the resolutions of the State convention Republican party of this day, I have no

then held, which was the first mass State doubt; and, when you were not aware for

convention ever held in Illinois by the what purpose I was reading them, your

Black Republican party; and I now hold Black Republicans cheered them as good

them in my hands and will read a part Black Republican doctrines. My object

of them, and cause the others to be in reading these resolutions was to put

printed. Here are the most important the question to Abraham Lincoln this day,

and material resolutions of this abolition whether he now stands and will stand by

platform: each article in that creed, and carry it


to ;he,?e*afit T Sat, W :hr I rartie h s iS bec r ome , ***? * k w ^ ether Mr. Lincoln
subversive of the ends for which they are to-day stands as he did m 1854, in favor
established, or incapable of restoring the of the unconditional repeal of the fugitive-
government to the true principles of the Con- s i av e law. I desire him to answer whether

t ^ t S. SS,S K s f bf UTh * fnd . P ^ to-day, as he did in

they may have been connected therewith, and 1854, against the admission of any more

to organize new parties upon such principles slave States into the Union, even if the

and with such views as the circumstances people want them> j t to k

and the exigencies of the nation may de- , \, , , , , ,

mand. whether he stands pledged against the ad-

" 2. Resolved, That the times imperatively mission of a new State into the Union
demand the reorganization of parties, and, w ith such a constitution as the people of
repudiating all previous party attachments, fh f Sf , _, _ pp fif f _ __-!_ r T WflTlt
names, and predilections, we unite ourselves l btate may see nt to make - L want
together in defence of the liberty and Con- to know whether he stands to-day pledged
stitution of the country, and will hereafter to the abolition of slavery in the District
co-operate as the Republican party pledged of Columbia. I desire him to answer
to the accomplishment of the following pur- , ,, , , , , ,
poses: to bring the administration of the whether he stands pledged to the pro-
government back to the control of first prin- hibition of the slave-trade between the
ciples ; to restore Nebraska and Kansas to different States. I desire to know whether

ajsat^SfiSSftSi^is: *? " p^ *, prohibit s ,ave ry in

States, and not in Congress, the power to a11 the Territories of the United States,

legislate for the extradition of fugitives from north as well as south of the Missouri

labor, to repeal and entirely abrogate the Compromise line. I desire him to answer
fugitive-slave law; to restrict slavery to , ,, , , , ....

those States in which it exists; to prohibit whether he is opposed to the acquisition

the admission of any more slave States into of any more territory unless slavery is

the Union ; to abolish slavery in the District prohibited therein. I want his answer

of Columbia ; to exclude slavery from all the f fh oiipstionq Your nffirmativp

Territories over which the general govern- * questions. lour affirmative

ment has exclusive jurisdiction ; and to resist cheers in favor of this abolition plat-

che acquirement of any more Territories un- form are not satisfactory. I ask Abraham

less the practice of slavery therein forever Lincoln to answer these questions, in
shall have been prohibited. -i J.T.J > TJ.O.I- j J.T

" 3. Resolved, That in furtherance of these order that when T trot him down to lower

principles we will use such constitutional and Egypt, I may put the same questions to

lawful means as shall seem best adapted to him. My principles are the same every-
their accomplishment, and that we will sup- h j can prodaim them alike in the

port no man for office, under the general or , T fl ,, -n

State government, who is not positively and ^ortn, the feouth, the Ji,ast, and the West,

fully committed to the support of these prin- My principles will apply wherever the Con-

ciples, and whose personal character and con- stitution prevails and the American flag
duet is not a guarantee that he is reliable, T , . , -, ,, ,.-

and who shall not have abjured old partj^ waves " T desire to know whether Mr.

allegiance and ties. Lincoln s principles will bear transplant
ing from Ottawa to Jonesboro? I put

Now, gentlemen, your Black Republi- these questions to him to-day distinctly,

cans have cheered every one of those propo- and ask an answer. I have a right to an



answer; 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 Douglass.
In the remarks I have made on this plat
form, and the position of Mr. Lincoln
upon it, I mean nothing personally dis
respectful or unkind to that gentleman.
I have known him for nearly twenty-five
years. There were many points of sym
pathy between us when we first got ac
quainted. We were both comparatively
boys, and 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. He was more successful
in his occupation than I was in mine,
and hence more fortunate in this world s

Lincoln is one of those peculiar men
who perform \vith admirable skill ev
erything 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 any
thing else! 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 sympathy with
him, because of the uphill struggle we
both had in life. He was then just as
good at telling an anecdote as now.
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; and the dignity and impartial
ity 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. I sympathized
with him because he was struggling with
difficulties, and so was I. Mr. Lincoln
served with me in the legislature in 1830,
when we both retired ; and he subsided or
became submerged, and he was lost sight
of as a public man for some years. In
1846, when Wilmot introduced his cele

brated proviso, and the abolition tornado
swept over the country, Lincoln again
turned up as a member of Congress from
the Sanganion district. I was then in the
Senate of the United States, and was
glad to welcome my old friend and com
panion. While in Congress, he distin
guished himself by his opposition to the
Mexican War, taking the side of the com
mon enemy against his own country :
and, when he returned home, he found
that the indignation of the people fol
lowed him everywhere, and he was again
submerged, or obliged to retire into pri
vate life, forgotten by his former friends.
He came up again in 1854, just in time
to make this abolition or Black Repub
lican platform, in company with Gid
dings, Lovejoy, Chase, and Fred Doug
lass, for the Republican party to stand
upon. 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 nulli-
fier when nullification was popular, and.
as soon as he disposed of his clocks and
wound up his business, migrated to Illi
nois, 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 re
pudiate 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 con
signed him to oblivion for a time. I
helped to do it. I walked into a public
meeting in the hall of the House of Repre
sentatives, and replied to his repudiating
speeches, and resolutions were carried
over his head denouncing repudiation,
and asserting the moral and legal obliga
tion of Illinois to pay every dollar of the
debt she owed and every bond that bore
her seal. Trumbull s malignity has fol
lowed me since I thus defeated his infa
mous 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 bar
gain, are now carrying out that arrange
ment. Matheny states that Trumbull
broke faith; that the bargain was that




Lincoln should be the Senator in Shields s I am delighted to hear you Black Re
place, and Trumbull was to wait for publicans say, " Good." I have no doubt
mine; and the story goes that Trumbull that doctrine expresses your sentiments;
cheated Lincoln, having control of four and I will prove to you now, if you will
or five abolitionized Democrats who were listen to me, that it is revolutionary and
holding over in the Senate. He would destructive of the existence of this gov-
not let them vote for Lincoln, which ernment. Mr. Lincoln, in the extract
obliged the rest of the abolitionists to from which I have read, says that this
support him in order to secure an aboli- government cannot endure permanently in
tion Senator. There are a number of the same condition in which it was made
authorities for the truth of this besides by its framers divided into free and slave
Matheny, and I suppose that even Mr. States. He says that it has existed for
Lincoln will not deny. about seventy years thus divided, and yet

Mr. Lincoln demands that he shall have he tells you that it cannot endure per-

the place intended for Trumbull, as Trum- manently on the same principles and in

bull cheated him and got his; and Trum- the same relative condition in which our

bull is stumping the State, traducing me fathers made it. Why can it not exist

for the purpose of securing the position divided into free and slave States? Wash-

for Lincoln, in order to quiet him. It ington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison,

was in consequence of this arrangement Hamilton, Jay, and the great men of that

that the Republican convention was im- clay made this government divided into

panelled to instruct for Lincoln and no- free States and slave States, and left each

body else; and it was on this account State perfectly free to do as it pleased on

that they passed resolutions that he was the subject of slavery. Why can it not

their first, their last, and their only exist on the same principles on which

choice. Archy Williams was nowhere, our fathers made it ? They knew when

Browning was nobody, Wentworth was they framed the Constitution that in a

not to be considered; they had no man country as wide and broad as this, with

in the Republican party for the place ex- such a variety of climate, production, and

cept Lincoln, for the reason that he de- interest, the people necessarily required

manded that they should carry out the ar- different laws and institutions in different

rangement. localities. They knew that the laws and

Having formed this new party for the regulations which would suit the granite

benefit of deserters from Whiggery and hills of New Hampshire would be un-

deserters from Democracy, and having suited to the rice plantations of South

laid down the abolition platform which I Carolina; and they therefore provided

Lave read, Lincoln now takes his stand that each State should retain its own

and proclaims his abolition doctrines, legislature and its own sovereignty, with

Let me read a part of them. In his the full and complete power to do as it

speech at Springfield to the convention pleased within its own limits, in all that

which nominated him for the Senate he was local and not national. One of the

said: reserved rights of the States was the

right to regulate the relations between

In my opinion, it will not cease until a _ . , ,
crisis shall have been reached and passed, master and servant, on the slavery ques-
A house divided against itself cannot tion. At the time the Constitution was
stand. I believe this government cannot en- f rame d there were thirteen States in the
dure permanently half slave and half free. T T n i OT1 + W plvp of which were slave hold
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved I Umon > twelve < t wnicn wer slave-J
do not expect the house to fall but I do ing States, and one a free State. Sup-
expect it will cease to be divided. It will be- pose this doctrine of uniformity preached
come all one thing or all the other. Either b Mr Linco i n , that the States should all
the opponents of slavery will arrest the fur- . J , . , ., ,
ther spread of it, and place it where the be free or all be slave, had prevailed ; and
public mind shall rest in the belief that it what would have been the result? Of
is in the course of Tiltimat^ extinction, or its CO urse, the twelve slave-holding States
SSr^ i^li t J?^SJiii,iH would have overruled the one free State;
well as new, North as well as South." and slavery would have been fastened by
[" Good, " Good," and cheers.] 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. Here I assert
that uniformity in the local laws and
institutions of the different States is
neither possible nor desirable. If uniform
ity had been adopted when the govern
ment was established, it must inevitably
have been the unformity of slavery every
where, or else the uniformity of negro
citizenship and negro equality every

We are told by Lincoln that he is utter
ly 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. That
is the first and main reason which he as
signs for his warfare on the Supreme
Court of the United States and its deci
sion. I ask you, Are you in favor of
conferring upon the negro the rights and
privileges of citizenship? Do you desire
to strike out of our State constitution that
clause which keeps slaves and free negroes
out of the State, a>nd allow the free ne-
gioes to flow in, and cover your prairies
with black settlements? Do you desire
to turn this beautiful State into a free
negro colony, in order that, when Missouri
abolishes slavery, she can send 100,000
emancipated slaves into Illinois, to be
come citizens and voters, on an equality
with yourselves? If you desire negro citi
zenship, 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. For one, I am opposed to
negro citizenship in any and every form.
I believe this government was made on
the white basis. 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

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 Inde
pendence award to him? He and they
maintain that negro equality is guaranteed
by the laws of God, and that it is assert
ed 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: 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. Lincoln has evi
dently learned by heart Parson Lovejoy s
catechism. He can repeat it as well as
Farnsworth, and he is worthy of a medal
from Father Giddings and Fred Douglass
for his abolitionism. 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 de
prive 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. If he did,
he has been a long time demonstrating the
fact. For thousands of years the negro
has been a race upon the earth ; and dur
ing 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 oc
cupy an inferior position. I do not hold
that, because the negro is our inferior,
therefore he ought to be a slave. By no
means can such a conclusion be drawn
f i- om what I have said. On the contrary,
T 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. On that
point, I presume, there can be no diversity
of opinion. You and I arc bound to ex
tend to our inferior and dependent beings
every right, every privilege, every facility,
and immunity consistent with the pub
lic good. The question then arises,
What rights and privileges are con
sistent with the public good? This



is a question which each State and
each Territory must decide for it
self. 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 depriv
ing him of all political rights whatsoever,
and refusing to put him on an equality
with the white man. That policy of Illi
nois is satisfactory to the Democratic
party and to me, and, if it were to the
Republicans, there would then be no ques
tion upon the subject; but the Republi
cans say that he ought to made a citi
zen, and, when he becomes a citizen, he
becomes your equal, with all your rights
and privileges. They assert the Dred
Scott decision to be monstrous because it
denies that the negro is or can be a citi
zen 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 had 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
tar as we are concerned: we have prohibit
ed 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; but,
when we settled it for ourselves, we ex
hausted 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 towards the free negroes,
we have said that they shall not vote;
while 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 pro
vided he owns two hundred and fifty dol
lars worth of property, but not otherwise.
While I would not make any distinc
tion 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 domes
tic, instead of Congress interfering, we
will continue at peace one with another.
Why should Illinois be at war with Mis
souri, or Kentucky with Ohio, or Vir
ginia 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, pro
ductions, and interests, required different
institutions. This doctrine of Mr. Lin
coln, of uniformity among the institu
tions of the different States, is a new
doctrine, never dreamed of by Washing
ton, Madison, or the framers of this
government. Mr. Lincoln and the Re
publican party set themselves up as
wiser than these men who made this gov
ernment, 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 na
tion of 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 to a nation
of about 30,000,000 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 the subject of slavery. On his return, in
there was nothing but savage barbarism. 1847, he began the publication, at Roches-
Under that principle we have become, ter, N. Y., of the North Star (afterwards
from a feeble nation, the most powerful Frederick Douglass s Paper}. In 1870 he
on the face of the earth; and, if we only
adhere to that principle, we can go for
ward increasing in territory, in power,
in strength, and in glory until the re
public of America shall be the north star
that shall guide the friends of freedom
throughout the civilized world. And
why can we not adhere to the great prin
ciple of self-government upon which our
institutions were originally based? I
believe that this new doctrine preached
by Mr. Lincoln and his party will dis
solve 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

For Mr. Lincoln s reply, see LINCOLN,
ABRAHAM. became editor of the National Era at

Douglas, WILLIAM, military officer; Washington City; in 1871 was appointed
born in Plainfield, Conn., Jan. 17, 1742; assistant secretary of the commission to
served in the French and Indian War, Santo Domingo; then became one of the
and was present at the surrender of Quebec. Territorial Council of the. District of Co-
He recruited a company at the beginning lumbia; in 1876-81 was United States
of the Revolutionary War and accom- marshal for the District; in 1881-86 was
panied Montgomery in the expedition recorder of deeds there; and in 1889-91
against Canada. He participated in the was United States minister to Haiti. He
unfortunate campaign which ended in the was author of Narrative of My ^peri-
fall of New York, and greatly distinguished ences in Slavery (1844); My Bondage

Online LibraryBenson John LossingHarper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) → online text (page 23 of 76)