Abraham Lincoln.

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

. (page 62 of 91)
Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 62 of 91)
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omitting all expressions of applause or approbation. I desire to be
heard rather than to be applauded. I wish to address myself to
your reason, your judgment, your sense of justice, and not to your
passions.

I regret that Mr. Lincoln should have deemed it proper for him to
again mdulge in gross personalities and base insinuations in regard
to the Springfield resolutions. It has imposed upon me the necessity
of using some portion of my time for the purpose of calling your at-
tention to the facts of the case, and it will then be for you to say
what you think of a man who can predicate such a charge upon the
circumstances he has in this. I had seen the platform adopted by
a Republican congressional convention held in Aurora, the second
congressional district, in September, 1854, published as purporting to
be the platform of the Republican party. That platform declared that
the Republican party was pledged never to admit another slave State
iuto the Union, and also that it was pledged to prohibit slavery in all
the Territories of the United States, — not only all that we then had,
but all that we should thereafter acquire, — and to repeal uncondition-
ally the fugitive-slave law, abolish slavery in the District of Columbia,
and prohibit the slave-trade between the ditf erent States. These and
other articles against slavery were contained in this platform, and
unanimously adopted by the Republican congressional convention
in that district. I had also seen that the Repubhcan congressional
conventions at Rockf ord, lu the first district, and at Bloomington, in
the third, had adopted the same platform that year, nearly word for
word, and had declared it to be the platform of the Republican party.
I had noticed that Major Thomas L. Hai-ris, a member of Congress
from the Springfield district, had referred to that platform ia a speech
in Congress, as having been adopted by the first Republican State
convention which assembled in Illinois. When I had occasion to use
the fact in this canvass, I WTOte to Major Harris to know on what
day that convention was held, and to ask him to send me its proceed-
ings. He being sick, Charles H. Lanphier answered my letter by
sending me the published proceedings of the convention held at
Vol. I.— 30.



466 ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Springfield on tlie 5tli of October, 1854, as they appeared in the re-
port of the " State Register." I read those resolutions from that
newspaper the same as any of you would refer back and quote any
fact from the files of a newspaper which had published it. Mr. Lin-
coln pretends that after I had so quoted those resolutions he discov-
ered that they had never been adopted at Springfield. He does not
deny their adoption by the Republican party at Aurora, at Bloom-
ington, and at Roekford, and by nearly all the Republican county
conventions in northern Illinois where his party is in a majority; but
merely because they were not adopted on the " spot " on which I said
they were, he chooses to quibble about the place rather than meet and
discuss the merits of the resolutions themselves. I stated when I quoted
them that I did so- from the " State Register." I gave my authority.
Lincoln believed at the time, as he has since admitted, that they had
been adopted at Springfield, as published. Does he believe now that
I did not teU. the truth when I quoted those resolutions? He knows
in his heart that I quoted them in good faith, believing at the time
that they had been adopted at Springfield. I would consider myself
an infamous wretch if, under such circumstances, I could charge any
man with being a party to a trick or a fraud. And I will tell him,
too, that it will not do to charge a forgery on Charles H. Lanphier or
Thomas L. Harris. No man on earth, who knows them, and knows
Lincoln, would take his oath against their word. There are not two
men in the State of Illinois who have higher characters for truth, for
integrity, for moral character, and for elevation of tone, as gentle-
men, than Mr. Lanphier and Mi-. Harris. Any man who attempts to
make such charges as Mr. Lincoln has indulged in against them, only
proclaims himself a slanderer.

I will now show you that I stated with entire fairness, as soon as
it was made known to me, that there was a mistake about the spot
where the resolutions had been adopted, although their truthfulness,
as a declaration of the principles of the Republican party, had not
and could not be questioned. I did not wait for Lincoln to point out
the mistake ; but the moment I discovered it, I made a speech, and
pubhshed it to the world, correcting the error. I corrected it my-
self, as a gentleman and an honest man, and as I always feel proud
to do when I have made a mistake. I wish Mr. Lincoln could show
that he has acted with equal fairness and truthfulness when I have
convinced him that he has been mistaken. I will give you an illus-
tration to show you how he acts in a similar case : In a speech at
Springfield he charged Chief Justice Taney and his associates. Presi-
dent Pierce, President Buchanan, and myself, with having entered
into a conspiracy at the time the Nebraska bill was introduced, by
which the Dred Scott decision was to be made by the Supreme Court,
in order to carry slavery everywhere under the Cfonstitiition. I called
his attention to the fact that at the time alluded to — to wit, the intro-
duction of the Nebraska bill — it was not possible that such a conspir-
acy could have been entered into, for the reason that the Dred Scott
case had never been taken before the Supreme Court, and was not
taken before it for a year after; and I asked him to take back that
charge. Did he do it 1 I showed him that it was impossible that



ADDEESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 467

the charge could be true ; I proved it 1 ly the record, and I then called
upon him to retract his false charge, ■^^^lat was his answer ? Instead
of coming out Kke an honest man and doing so, he reiterated the
charge, and said that if the case had not s<>iie up to the Supreme
Court from the com-ts of Missouri at the time he charged that the
judges of the Supreme Court entered into the conspiracy, yet that
there was an understanding with the Democratic owners of Dred
Scott that tliey would take it up. I have since asked him who the
Democratic owners of Dred Scott were, but he could not tell. And
why? Because there were no such Democratic owners in existence.
Dred Scott at the time was owned by the Rev. Dr. Chaffee, an Aboli-
tion member of Congress, of Springfield, Massachusetts, in right of
his wife. He was owned by one of Lincoln's friends, and not by
Democrats at all ; his case was conducted in court by Abohtion
lawyers, so that both the prosecution and the defense Vere in the
hands of the Abolition political friends of ]\Ir. Lincoln.

Notwithstanding I thus proved by the record that his charge
against tlie Supreme Court was false, instead of taking it back, he
resorted to another false charge to sustain the infamy of it. He also
charged President Buchanan with having been a party to the con-
spiracy. I directed his attention to the fact that the charge could
not possibly be true, for the reason that at the time specified Mr.
Buchanan was not in America, but was three thousand miles off,
representing the United States at the Court of St. James, and had
been there for a year previous, and did not return till three years
afterward. Yet I never cotdd get Mr. Lincoln to take back his false
charge, although I have called upon him over and over again. He
refuses to do it, and either remains silent or resorts to other tricks
to try and palm his slander off on the country. Therein you will
find the difference between Mr. Lincoln and myself. When I make
a mistake, as an honest man I correct it without being asked to do so ;
but when he makes a false charge, he sticks to it and never corrects it.
One word more in regard to these resolutions : I quoted them at Ottawa
merely to ask Mr. Lincoln whether he stood on that platform. That
was the purpose for which I quoted them. I did not think that I had a
light to put idle questions to him, and I first laid a foundation for my
questions by showing that the principles which I wished him either
to affirm or deny had been adopted by some portion of his friends,
at least, as their creed. Hence I read the resohitions, and put the
questions to him, and he then refused to answer them. Subse-
quently — one week afterward — he did answer a part of them, but
the others he has not answered up to this day.

Now let me call your attention for a moment to the answers
■which Mr. Lincoln made at Freeport to the questions which I pro-
pounded to him at Ottawa, based upon the platform adopted by a ma-
jority of the Abolition counties of the State, which now, as then,
supported hitn. In answer to my question whether he indorsed the
Black Republican principle of " no more slave States," he answered
that he was not pledged against the admission of any more slave
States, but that he would be very sorry if he should ever be placed
in a position where he would have to vote on the question ; that he



468 ADDRESSES AKD LETTEKS OF ABEAHAM LINCOLN

would rejoice to know that no more slave States would be admitted
into the Union; "but," he added, "if slavery shall be kept out of the
Territories during the territorial existence of any one given Ter-
ritory, and then the people shall, having a fair chance and a clear
field when they come to adopt the constitution, do such an extraordi-
nary thing as to adopt a slave constitution, uninfluenced by the actual
presence of the institution among them, I see no alternative, if we
own the country, but to admit them into the Union."' The point I
wish him to answer is this : Suppose Congress should not prohibit
slavery in the Territory^ and it applied for admission with a consti-
tution recognizing slavery, then how would he vote '? His answer at
Freeport does not apply to any Territory in America. I ask j^ou
[turning to Liucola], will you vote to admit Kansas into the Union,
with just such a constitution as her people want, with slavery or
without, asT;hey shall determine ? He will not answer. I have put
that question to him time and time again, and have not been able to
get an answer out of him. I ask you again, Lincoln, will you vote
to admit Xew Mexico, when she has the requisite population, with
such a constitution as her people adopt, either recognizing slavery
or not, as they shall determine ? He will not answer. I put the
same question to him in reference to Oregon and the new States to
be carved out of Texas in pursuance of the contract between Texas
and the United States, and he will not answer. He will not answer
these questions in reference to any Territory now iu existence, but
says that if Congress should prohibit slavery in a Territory, and
when its people asked for admission as a State they shoidd adopt
slavery as one of their institutions, that he supposes he would have
to let it come in. I submit to you whether that answer of his to my
question does not justify me in saying that he has a fertile genius in
demising language to conceal his thoughts. I ask you whether there
is an intelligent man in America who does not believe that that an-
swer was made for the purpose of concealing what he intended to do.
He wished to make the old-hne Whigs believe that he would stand
by the compromise measures of 1850, which declared that the States
might come into the Union with slavery', or without, as they pleased,
while Lovejoy and his Abolition allies up north explained to the
Abolitionists that in taking this ground he preached good Abolition
doctrine, because his proviso would not apply to any Territorj- in
America, and therefore there was no chance of his being governed
by it. It would have been quite easy for him to have said that he
would let the people of a State do just as they pleased, if he desired
to convey such an idea. Why did he not do it 1 He would not an-
swer my question directly because, up north, the Abolition creed
declares that there shall be no more slave States, while down south,
iu Adams County, in Coles, and in Sangamon, he and his friends are
afraid to advance that doctrine. Therefore he gives an evasive and
equivocal answer, to be construed one way in the south and another
way in the north, which, when analyzed, it is apparent is not an
answer at all with reference to any Territory now in existence.

INIr. Lincoln complains that, in my speech the other day at Gales-
burg, I read an extract from a speech delivered bj- him at Chicago,



ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 469

and then another from Ms speech at Charleston, and compared
them, thus showing the people that he had one set of principles in
one part of the State and another in the other part. And how does
he answer that charge ? Why, he quotes from his Charleston speefli
as I quoted from it, and then quotes another extract from a speech
which he made at another place, which he says is the same as the
extract from his speech at Charleston; but he does not quote the
extract from his Chicago speech^ upon which I convicted him of
double-dealing. I quoted from his Chicago speech to prove that he
held one set of principles up north among the Abohtionists, and
from his Charleston speech to prove that, he held another set down
at Charleston and in southern Illinois. In his answer to this charge,
he ignores entirely his Chicago speech, and merely argues that he
said the same thing which he said at Charleston at another place.
If he did, it foUows that he has twice, instead of once, held one creed
in one part of the State, and a different creed in another part. Up
at Chicago, in the opening of the campaign, he re\'iewed my reception
speech, and undertook to answer my argument attacking his favorite
doctrine of negro equality. I had shown that it was a falsification
of the Declaration of Independence to pretend that that instrument
applied to and included negroes in the clause declaring that all men
are created equal. What was Lincoln's reply? I will read from
his Chicago speech, and the one which he did not quote, and dare not
quote, in this part of the State. He said :

I should like to know if, taking this old Declaration of Independence,
which declares that all men are equal upon principle, and making excep-
tions to it, where will it stop ? If one man says it does not mean a negro,
why may not another man say it does not mean another man 1 If that
declaration is not the truth, let us get this statute-book in which we find it
and tear it out.

There you find that Mr. Lincoln told the Abolitionists of Chicago
that if the Declaration of Independence did not declare that the
negro was created by the Almighty the equal of the white man, that
you ought to take that instrument and tear out the clause which says
that all men are created equal. But let me call your attention to
another part of the same speech. You know that m his Charleston
speech, an extract from which he has read, he declared that the negro
belongs to an inferior race, is physically inferior to the white man,
and should always be kept in an inferior position. I will now read
to you what he said at Chicago on that point. In concluding his.
speech at that place, he remarked:

My friends, I have detained you about as long as I desire to do, and I
have only to say, let us discard aU this quibbling about this man and the
other man — this race and that race and the other race being iaferior, and
therefore they must be placed in an iaferior position, discarding our stan-
dard that we have left us. Let us discard aU. these things, and unite as one-
people throughout this land until we shall once more stand up declaring
that all men are created equal.

Thus you see that when addressing the Chicago Abolitionists he-
declared that aU distinctions of race must be- discarded and Hotted



470 ADDRESSES AND LETTEES OF ABEAHAM LINCOLN

out, because the negro stood on an equal footing with the white man;
that if one man said the Declaration of Independence did not mean
a negro when it declared aU men created equal, that another man
would say that it did not mean another man ; and hence we ought to
discard aU difference between the negro race and all other races, and
declare them all created equal. Did old Giddings, when he came
down among you four years ago, preach more radical AboUtionism
than this '? Did Lovejoy, or Lloyd Garrison, or WendeU Phillips, or
Fred Douglass, ever take higher Abolition grounds than that ? Lin-
coln told you that I had charged him with getting up these personal
attacks to conceal the enormity of his principles, and then com-
menced talking about something else, omitting to quote this part
of his Chicago speech which contained the enormity of his principles
to which I alluded. He knew that I alluded to his negro-equahty
doctrines when I spoke of the enormity of his principles, yet he did
not find it convenient to answer on that point. Having shown you
what he said in his Chicago speech in reference to negroes being
created equal to white men, and about discarding aU distinctions
between the two races, I will again read to you what he said at
Charleston :

I win say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing
about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black
races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters of the
free negroes, or jurors, or quaUfying them to hold ofiice, or having them to
marry with white people. I will say, in addition, that there is a physical
difference between the white and black races which, I suppose, will forever
forbid the two races hving together upon terms of social and pohtical
equality ; and inasmuch as they cannot so hve, while they do remain to-
gether, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much
as any other man, am in favor of the superior position being assigned to the
white man.

A voice : " That 's the doctrine."

Mr. Douglas : Yes, sir, that is good doctrine ; but Mr. Lincoln is
afraid to advocate it in the latitude of Chicago, Avhere he hopes to get
his votes. It is good doctrine in the anti- Abolition counties for him,
and his Chicago speech is good doctrine in the Abolition counties.
I assert, on the authority of these two speeches of Mr. Lincoln, that
beholds one set of principles in the Abolition counties, and a differ-
ent and contradictory set in the other counties. I do not question
that he said at Ottawa what he quoted, but that only con\icts him
further, by proving that he has twice contradicted himself instead of
once. Let me ask him why he cannot avow his principles the same
in the north as in the south — the same in every county, if he has a
conviction that they are just '/ But I forgot — he would not be a Re-
publican if his principles would apply alike to every pai-t of the
country. The party to which he belongs is bounded and limited by geo-
graphical lines. With their principles they cannot even cross the Mis-
sissippi River on your ferry-boats. They cannot cross over the Ohio
into Kentucky. Linf^oln himself cannot visit the land of his fathers,
the scenes of his childhood, the graves of his ancestors, and carry
his Abolition principles, as he declared them at Chicago, with him.



ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 471

This Eepublican organization appeals to the North against the
South; it appeals to Northern passion, Northern prejudice, and
Northern ambition, against Southern people, Southern States, and
Southern institutions, and its only hope of success is by that appeal.
Mr. Lincoln goes on to justify himself in making a war upon slavery
upon the ground that Frank Blair and Gratz Brown did not succeed
in their warfare upon the institutions in Missouri. Frank Blair was
elected to Congress, in 1856, from the State of Missouri, as a Bu-
chanan Democrat, and he turned Pr^monter after the people elected
him, thus belonging to one party before his election, and another
afterward. What right, then, had he to expect, after having thus
cheated his constituency, that they would support him at another
election ? Mr. Lincoln thinks that it is his duty to preach a crusade
in the free States against slavery, because it is a crime, as he believes,
and ought to be extinguished, and because the people of the slave
States will never abolish it. How is he going to abolish it ? Down
in the southern part of the State he takes the ground openly that
he will not interfere with slavery where it exists, and says that he
is not now and never was in favor of interfering with slavery where
it exists in the States. Well, if he is not in favor of that, how does
he expect to bring slavery into a course of ultimate extinction ? How
can he extinguish it in Kentucky, in Virginia, in all the slave States,
by his policy, if he will not pursue a policy which wOl interfere with
it in the States where it exists ? In his speech at Springfield before
the Abolition or Republican convention, he declared his hostility to
any more slave States in this language :

Under the operation of that policy the agitation has not only not ceased,
but has constantly augmented. In my opinion it will 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 Union to be dissolved, — I
do not expect the house to f aU, — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become aU one thing, or aU the other. Either the opponents of sla-
very will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the pubUc mind
shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its
advocates mU. push it forward till it shall become ahke lawful in all the
States — old as well as new. North as well as South.

Mr. Lincoln there told his Abolition friends that this government
could not endure permanently divided into free and slave States as
our fathers made it, and that it must become aU free or aU slave ;
otherwise, that the government could not exist. How then does Lin-
coln propose to save the Union, unless by compelling aU the States to
become free, so that the house shall not be divided against itself ?
He intends making them all free ; he will preserve the Union in that
way ; and yet he is not going to interfere with slavery anywhere it
now exists. How is he going to bring it about? Why, he will
agitate ; he will induce the North to agitate until the South shall be
worried out, and forced to abolish slavery. Let us examine the pol-
icy by which that is to be done. He first tells you that he would
prohibit slavery everywhere in the Territories. He would thus con-
fine slavery within its present limits. When he thus gets it confined,



472 ADDBESSES AND LETTEKS OF ABEAHAM LINCOLN

and surrounded, so that it cannot spread, the natural laws of increase
will go on until the negroes will be so plenty that they cannot live
on the soil. He will hem them in until starvation seizes them, and
by starving them to death he will put slavery in the course of ulti-
mate extinction. If he is not going to interfere with slavery in the
States, but intends to interfere and prohibit it in the Territories,
and thus smother slavery out, it naturally follows that he can ex-
tinguish it only by extinguishing the negro race; for his policy
would drive them to starvation. This is the humane and Christian
remedy that he proposes for the great crime of slavery.

He tells you that I will not argue the question whether slavery is
right or wrong. I tell you why I will not do it. I hold that, under
the Constitution of the United States, each State of this Union has
a right to do as it pleases on the subject of slavery. In Illinois we
have exercised that sovereign right by prohibiting slaverj' within
our own limits. I approve of that hne of policy. We have per-
formed our whole duty in Illinois. We have gone as far as we have
a right to go under the Constitution of our common country. It is
none of our business whether slavery exists in Missouri or not.
Missouri is a sovereign State of this Union, and has the same right
to decide the slavery question for herself that Illinois has to decide
it for herself. Hence I do not choose to occupy the time allotted to
me in discussing a question that we have no right to act upon. I
thought that you desired to hear us upon those questions coming
within our constitutional power of action. Lincoln will not discuss



Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 62 of 91)