Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; online

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from the resolutions passed by that convention. I have shown j-ou
that I had good evidence for believing that the resolutions had been
passed at Springfield. Mr. Lincoln ought to have known better ;
but not a word is said about his ignorance on the subject, whOst I,
notwithstanding the circumstances, am accused of forgery.

Now, I will show you that if I have made a mistake as to the place
where these resolutions were, adopted — and when I get down to
Springfield I will investigate the matter and see whether or not I
have — the principles they enunciate were adopted as the Black
Republican platform [" White, white "], in the various counties and
congressional districts throughout the north end of the State in
1854. This platform was adopted in nearly every connty that gave
a Black Republican majority for the legislature in that year, and
here is a man [pointing to Mr. Denio, who sat on the stand near
Deacon Bross] who knows as well as any living man that it was the
creed of the Black Republican party at that time. I would be willing
to call Denio as a witness, or any other honest man belonging to that
party. I will now read the resolutions adopted at the Rockf ord con-
vention on the 30th of August, 1854, which nominated Washburne
for Congress. You elected him on the following platform :

Besolved, That the continued and increasing aggressions of slavery in our
country are destructive of the best rights of a free people, and that such
aggressions cannot be successfully resisted without the united political
action of aU good men.



ADDEESSES AND LETTEES OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 321

Besolved, That the citizens of the United States hold in llioiv hands peace-
ful, constitutional, and efficient remedy against the encroachments of the
slave power, the ballot-box ; and if that remedy is boldly and wisely ap-
plied, the principles of liberty and eternal justice will be established.

Besolved, That we accept this issue forced upon us by the slave power,
and, in defense of freedom, will cooperate and be known as Republicans,
pledged to the accomplishment of the following pm'poses :

To bring the administration of the government back to the control of
first principles ; to restore Kansas and Nebraska to the position of free Ter-
ritories ; 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 exclude slavery from all the Territo-
ries over which the General Government has exclusive jurisdiction, and to
resist the acquisition of any more Territories nnless the introduction of
slavery therein forever shall have been prohibited.

Besolved, That in furtherance of these principles we will use such consti-
tutional and lawful means as shall seem best adapted to their accomplish-
ment, and that we wiU. support no man for office under the General or State
Government who is not positively committed to the support of these prin-
ciples, and whose personal character and conduct is not a guaranty that he
is reliable and shall abjure aU party allegiance and ties.

Besolved^ That we cordially invite persons of all former poUtical parties
whatever m favor of the object expressed in the above resolutions to unite
with us in carrying them into effect.

Well, you think that is a very good platform, do you not ? If you
do, if you approve it now, and think it is all right, you will not join
■with those men who say that I libel you by calling these your prin-
ciples, wiU you ? Now, Mr. Lincoln complains ; Mr. Lincoln charges
that I did you and him injustice by saying that this was the plat-
form of your party. I am told that Washburne made a speech in
Gralena last night, in which he abused me awfully for bringing to
light this platform, on which he was elected to Congress. He
thought that you had forgotten it, as he and Mr. Lincoln desire to.
He did not deny but that you had adopted it, and that he had sub-
scribed to and was pledged by it, but he did not think it was fair to
call it up and remind the people that it was their platform.

But I am glad to find that you are more honest m your Abolition-
ism than your leaders, by 'avowing that it is your platform, and
right in your opinion.

In the adoption of that platform, you not only declared that you
would resist the admission of any more slave States, and work for
the repeal of the fugitive- slave law, but you pledged yourself not
to vote for any man for State or Federal oflces who was not com-
mitted to these principles. You were thus committed. Similar res-
olutions to those were adopted in your county convention here;
and now with your admissions that they are your platform and em-
body your sentiments now as they did then, what do you think of
Mr. Lincoln, your candidate for the United States Senate, who is at-
tempting to dodge the responsibility of this platform, because it was
not adopted in the right spot? I thought that it was adopted in
Springfield, but it turns out it was not, that it was adopted at Rock-
ford, and in the various counties which comprise this congressional
district. When I get into the next district, I will show that the
Vol. I.— 21.



322 ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LESTOOLN

same platform was adopted there, and so on through the State, until
I nail the responsibility of it upon the back of the Black RepuhUcan
party throughout the State. [A voice : " Could n't you modify and
call it brown ?"] Not a bit. I thought that you were becoming a
little brown when your members in Congress voted for the Critten-
den-Montgomery bill, but since you have backed out from that po-
sition, and gone back to Abolitionism, you are black and not brown.
Gentlemen, I have shown you what your platform was in 1854.
You still adhere to it. The same platform was adopted by nearly
all the counties where the Black Republican party had a majority
in 1854. I wish now to call your attention to the action of your
representatives in the legislature when they assembled together at
Springfield. In the first place you must remember that this was the
organization of a new party. It is so declared in the resolutions
themselves, which say that you are going to dissolve all old party
ties and call the new party Republican. The Old Whig party was to
have its throat cut from ear to ear, and the Democratic party was to
be annihilated and blotted out of existence, whilst in lieu of these
parties the Black Republican party was to be organized on this Abo-
lition platform. You know who the chief leaders were in breaking
up and destroying these two great parties. Lincoln on the one hand
and Trumbull on the other, being disappointed politicians, and having
retired or been driven to obscurity by an outraged constituency be-
cause of their political sins, formed a scheme to Abolitionize the two
parties, and lead the old-line Whigs and old-line Democrats captive,
bound hand and foot, into the Abolition camp. Giddings, Chase,
Fred Douglass, and Lovejoy were here to christen them whenever
they were brought in. Lincoln went to work to dissolve the old-line
whig party. Clay was dead, and although the sod was not yet green
on his grave, this man undertook to bring into disrepute those great
compromise measures of 1850, with which Clay and Webster were
identified. Up to 1854 the Old Whig party and the Democratic party
had stood on a common platform so far as this slavery question was
concerned. You Whigs and we Democrats differed about the bank,
the tariff, distribution, the specie circular, and the subtreasury, but
we agreed on this slavery question and the true mode of preserving
the peace and harmony of the Union. The compromise measures of
1850 were introduced by Clay, were defended by Webster, and sup-
ported by Cass, and were approved by Fillmore, and sanctioned by the
national men of both parties. They constituted a common plank
upon which both Whigs and Democrats stood. In 1852 the Whig
party, in its last national convention at Baltimore, indorsed and ap-
proved these measures of Clay, and so did the national convention
of the Democratic party held that same year. Thus the old-line
Whigs and the old-line Democrats stood pledged to the great prin-
ciple of self-government, which guarantees to the people of each
Territory the right to decide the slavery question for themselves. In
1854, after the death of Clay and Webster, Mr. Lincoln, on the part
of the Whigs, undertook to Abolitionize the Whig party by dissolvin g
it, transferring the members into the Abolition camp and making
them train under Giddings, Fred Douglass, Lovejoy, Chase, Farns-



ADDRESSES AND LETTEES OP ABEAHAM LINCOLN 323

worth, and other Abolition leaders. Trambull undertook to dissolve
the Democratic party by taking old Democrats into the Abolition
camp. Mr. Lincoln was aided in his efforts by many leading Whigs
throughout the State — your member of Congress, Mr. Washburne,
being one of the most active. Trumbull was aided by many rene-
gades from the Democratic party, among whom were John Went-
worth, Tom Turner, and others with whom you are familiar.

Mr. Turner, who was one of the moderators, here interposed, and
said that he had drawn the resolutions which Senator Douglas had
read.

Mr. Douglas : Yes, and Turner says that he drew these resolutions.
['; Hurrah for Turner ! " " Hurrah for Douglas ! "] That is right ;
give Turner cheers for drawing the resolutions, if you approve them.
If he drew those resolutions, he will not deny that they are the creed
of the Black Republican party.

Mr. Turner : They are our creed exactly.

Mr. Douglas: And yet Lincoln denies that he stands on them.
Mr. Turner says that the creed of the Black Republican party is the
admission of no more slave States, and yet Mr. Lincoln declares that
he would not like to be placed in a position where he would have to
vote for them. All I have to say to friend Lincoln is, that I do not
think there is much danger of his being placed in such a position.
As Mr. Lincoln would be very sorry to be placed in such an embar-
rassing position as to be obliged to vote on the admission of any
more slave States, I propose, out of mere kindness, to relieve him
from any such necessity. When the bargain between Lincoln and
Trumbull was completed for Abolitionizing the Whig and Demo-
cratic parties, they " spread" over the State, Lincoln still pretending
to be an old-line Whig, dn order to " rope in " the Whigs, and Trum-
bull pretending to be as good a Democrat as he ever was, in order
to coax the Democrats over into the Abolition ranks. They played
the part that " decoy ducks " play down on the Potomac River. In
that part of the country they make artificial ducks, and put them on
the water in places where the wild ducks are to be found, for the
purpose of decoying them. Well, Lincoln and Trumbull played the
part of these " decoy ducks," and deceived enough old-line Whigs
and old-line Democrats to elect a Black Republican legislatiire.
When that legislature met, the first thing it did was to elect as
Speaker of the House the veryman who is now boasting that he wrote
the Abolition platform on which Lincoln will not stand. I want to
know of Mr. Turner whether or not, when he was elected, he was ai
good embodiment of Republican principles ?

Mr. Turner : I hope I was then and am now.

Mr. Douglas : He swears that he hopes he was then and is now.
He wrote that Black Republican platform, and is satisfied with it
now. I admire and acknowledge Turner's honesty. Every man of
you knows what he says about these resolutions being the platform
of the Black Republican party is true, and you also know that each
one of these men who are shufling and trying to deny it is only
trying to cheat the people out of their votes for the purpose of deceiv-
ing them still more after the election. 1 propose to trace this thing



324 ADDRESSES AND LETTEKS OP ABEAHAM LINCOLN

a little further, in order tliat you can see what additional evidence
there is to fasten this revolutionary platform upon the Black Re-
publican party. When the legislature assembled, there was a United
States senator to elect in the place of General Shields, and before
they proceeded to ballot, Lovejoy insisted on laying down certain
principles by which to govern the party. It has been published to
the world and satisfactorily proven that there was, at the time the al-
liance was made between Trtimbull and Lincoln to Abolitionize the
two parties, an agreement that Lincoln should take Shields's place in
the United States Senate, and Trumbull should have mine so soon
as they could conveniently get rid of me. When Lincoln was beaten
for Shields's place, in a manner I will refer to in a few minutes, he
felt very sore and restive ; his friends grumbled, and some of them
came out and charged that the most infamous treachery had been
practised against him ; that the bargain was that Lincoln was to have
had Shields's place, and Trumbull was to have waited for mine, but
that Trumbull, having the control of a few Abolitionized Democrats,
prevented them from voting for Lincoln, thus keeping him within
a few votes of an election until he succeeded in forcing the party to
drop him and elect Trumbull. Well, Trumbull having cheated Lin-
coln, his friends made a fuss, and in order to keep them and Lincoln
quiet, the party were obliged to come forward, in advance, at the last
State election, and make a pledge that they would go for Lincoln and
nobody else. Lincoln could not be silenced in any other way.

Now, there are a great many Black Republicans of you who do not
know this thing was done. [" White, white," and great clamor.] I
wish to remind you that while Mr. Lincoln was speaking there was
not a Democrat vulgar and blackguard enough to interrupt him.
But I know that the shoe is pinching you. I am clinching Lincoln
now, and you are scared to death for the result. I have seen this
thing before. I have seen men make appointments for joint dis-
cussions, and, the moment their man has been heard, try to inter-
rupt and prevent a fair hearing of the other side. I have seen your
mobs before, and defy your wrath. [Tremendous applause.] My
friends, do not cheer, for I need my whole time. The object of the
opposition is to occupy my attention in order to prevent me from
giving the whole evidence and nailing this double-dealing on the
Black Republican party. As I have before said, Lovejoy demanded
a declaration of principles on the part of the Black Republicans of
the legislature before going into an election for United States sen-
ator. He offered the following preamble and resolutions which I
hold in my hand:

Whereas, Human slavery is a violation of the principles of natui-al and
revealed rights ; and whereas^ the fathers of the Eevolution, fuUy imbued
with the spirit of these principles, declared freedom to be the inalienable
birthright of aU men ; and whereas, the preamble to the Constitution of
the United States avers that that instrument was ordained to estabhsh
justice and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity ;
and whereas, in furtherance of the above principles, slavery was forever
prohibited in the old Northwest Territory, and more recently in all that
territory lying west and north of the State of Missouri by the act of the
Federal Government ; and whereas, the repeal of the prohibition last re-



ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 325

f erred to ^yas contrary to tke 'wislies of the people of Illinois, a violation
of an implied compact, long deemed sacred by the citizens of the United
States, and a wide departm-e from the uniform action of tlie General Gov-
ernment in relation to the extension of slavery ; therefore,

Besolved, hy tlie House of BepresentatiDes, the Senate concurring therein, That
om- senators in Congress be instructed, and our representatives requested
to introdueej if not otherwise introduced, and to vote for a biU to restore
such prohibition to the aforesaid Territories, and also to extend a similar
prohibition to aU territory which now belongs to the United States, or
which may hereafter come under their jurisdiction.

Resolved, That our senators in Congress be instructed, and our repre-
sentatives requested, to vote against the admission of any State into the
Union, the constitution of which does not prohibit slavery, whether the
territory out of which such State may have been formed shall have been
acquired by conquest, treaty, purchase, or from original territory of the
Umted States.

Besolved, That our senators in Congress be instructed, and our repre-
sentatives requested, to introduce and vote for a bill to repeal an act en-
titled "An act respecting fugitives from justice and persons escaping from
the services of then* masters" ; and, faiUng in that, for such a modiflcation
of it as shall secm-e the right of habeas corpus and trial by jury before the
regularly constituted authorities of the State, to all persons claimed as
owing service or labor.

Those resolutions were introduced by Mr. Lovejoy immediately
preceding the election of senator. They declared first, that the
Wilmot proviso must be applied to all territory north of 36° 30' ; sec-
ondly, that it must be applied to all territory south of 36° 30' ; thirdly,
that it must be applied to all the territory now owned by the
United States ; and finally, that it must be applied to all territory
hereafter to be acquired by the United States. The next resolu-
tion declares that no more slave States shall be admitted into
this Union under any circumstances whatever, no matter whether
they are formed out of territory now owned by us or that we may
hereafter acquire, by treaty, by Congress, or in any manner what-
ever. The next resolution demands the unconditional repeal of
the fugitive-slave law, although its unconditional repeal would leave
no provision for carrying out that clause of the Constitution of the
United States which guarantees the surrender of fugitives. If they
could not get an unconditional repeal, they demanded that that law
should be so modified as to make it as nearly useless as possible.
Now, I want to show you who voted for these resolutions. When
the vote was taken on the first resolution, it was decided in the affir-
mative — yeas 41, nays 32. You will find that this is a strict party
vote, between the Democrats on the one hand, and the Black Repub-
licans on the other. [Cries of " White, white," and clamor.] I know
your name, and always call things by their right name. The point I
wish to call your attention to is this : that these resolutions were
adopted on the 7th day of February, and that on the 8th they went
into an election for a United States senator, and that day every man
who voted for these resolutions, with but two exceptions, voted for
Lincoln for the United States Senate. [" Give us their names."] I
wUl read the names over to you if you want them, but I believe your
object is to occupy my time.



326 ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

On the next resolution the vote stood, yeas 33, nays 40; and on
the third resolution, yeas 85, nays 47. I wish to impress upon you
that every man who voted for those resolutions, with but two excep-
tions, voted on the next day for Lincoln for United States senator.
Bear in mind that the members who thus voted for Lincoln were
elected to the legislature pledged to vote for no man for oflce under
the State or Federal Government who was not committed to this
Black Republican platform. They were aU so pledged. Mr. Turner,
who stands by me, and who then represented you, and who says that
he wrote those resolutions, voted for Lincoln, when he was pledged
not to do so unless Lincoln was in favor of those resolutions. I now
ask Mr. Turner [turning to Mr. Turner], did you violate your pledge
in voting for Mr. Lincoln, or did he commit himself to your plat-
form before you cast your vote for him ?

I could go through the whole list of names here and show you that
all the Black Republicans in the legislature, who voted for Mr. Lin-
coln, had voted on the day previous for these resolutions. For in-
stance, here are the names of Sargent and Little, of Jo Daviess and
Carroll; Thomas J. Turner, of Stephenson; Lawrence, of Boone and
McHenry; Swan, of Lake; Pinckney, of Ogle County; and Lyman, of
Winnebago. Thus you see every member from your congressional
district voted for Mr. Lincoln, and they were pledged not to vote for
him unless he was committed to the doctrine of no more slave States,
the prohibition of slavery in the Territories, and the repeal of the
fugitive-slave law. Mr. Lincoln tells you to-day that he is not
pledged to any such doctrine. Either Mr. Lincoln was then com-
mitted to those propositions, or Mr. Turner violated his pledges to
you when he voted for him. Either Lincoln was pledged to each one
of those propositions, or else every Black Republican representative
from this congressional district violated his pledge of honor to his
constituents by voting for him. I ask you which horn of the di-
lemma will you take? Will you hold Lincoln up to the platform of
his party, or will you accuse every representative you had in the leg-
islature of violating his pledge of honor to his constituents ? There
is no escape for you. Either Mr. Lincoln was committed to those
propositions, or your members violated theii- faith. Take either
horn of the dilemma you choose. There is no dodging the question ;
I want Lincoln's answer. He says he was not pledged to repeal the
fugitive-slave law, that he does not quite like to do it ; he will not
inta'oduce a law to repeal it, but thinks there ought to be some law;
he does not teU what it ought to be ; upon the whole, he is altogether
undecided, and don't know what to think or do. That is the sub-
stance of his answer upon the repeal of the fugitive-slave law. I
put the question to him distinctly, whether he indorsed that part of
the Black Republican platform which calls for the entire abroga-
tion and repeal of the fugitive-slave law. He answers, no! — that
he does not indorse that; but he does not tell what he is for, or
what he wiU vote for. His answer is, in fact, no answer at all. Why
cannot he speak out and say what he is for and what he wiU do 1

In regard to there being no more slave States, he is not pledged to
that. He would not like, he says, to be put in a position where he



ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 327

would have to vote one way or another upon that question. I pray
you, do not jjut him in a position that would embarrass him so much.
Gentlemen, if he goes to the Senate he may be put in that position,
and then which way will he vote ? [A voice : " How wUl you vote 1 "\
I wiU vote for the admission of just such a State as bj'^ the form of
their constitution the people show they want. If they want slavery,
they shall have it; if they prohibit slavery, it shall be prohibited.
They can form their institutions to please themselves, subject only to
the Constitution; and I for one stand ready to receive them into the
Union. Why cannot your Black Republican candidates talk out as
plain as that when they are questioned?

I do not want to cheat any man out of his vote. No man is
deceived in regard to my principles if I have the power to express
myself in terms explicit enough to convey my ideas.

Mr. Lincoln made a speech when he was nominated for the United
State Senate which covers all these Abolition platforms. He there
lays down a proposition so broad in its Abolitionism as to cover the
whole ground.

In my opinion it [the slavery agitation] wUl not cease until a crisis shall
have been reached and passed. "A house divided against itself cannot
stand." I beheve this government cannot endure permanently half slave
and half free. I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will
cease to be divided. It wiU become aU one thing or all the other. Either
the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it
■where the pubho mind shall rest in the behef that it is in the course of ulti-
mate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward tiU it shall become
alike lawful in all the States — old as well as new. North as weU as South.

There you find that Mr. Lincoln lays down the doctrine that this
Union cannot endure divided as our fathers made it, with free and
slave States. He says they must all become one thing or all the other ;
that they must all be free or all slave, or else the Union cannot
continue to exist. It bein^ his opinion that to admit any more slave
States, to continue to divide the Union into free and slave States,



Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 42 of 91)