Abraham Lincoln.

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IRatioual lEMtion

The Writings of

Abraham Lincoln

Edited by

Arthur Brooks Lapsley

With an Introduction by

Theodore Roosevelt

Together with

The Essay on Lincoln, by Carl Schurz

The Address on Lincoln, by Joseph H. Choate

and The Life of Lincoln, by Noah Brooks

Volume Four
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates — II

The Lamb Publishing Company

New York

<» . - ,—


Political Debates


Abraham Lincoln


Stephen A. Douglas

In the Senatorial Campaign of 1858 in Illinois;

including the preceding speeches of each

at Chicago, Springfield, etc.

Part II


Fourth Joint Debate, at Charleston, September

i8, 1858

Lincoln's Speech .....

Douglas's Reply

Lincoln's Rejoinder ....
Extract from Trumbull's Speech at Alton
Extract from Douglas's Speech at Jackson

Fifth Joint Debate, at Galesburgh, October 7


Douglas's Speech . , •
Lincoln's Reply . . .
Douglas's Rejoinder . .

Sixth Joint Debate, at Quincy, October
Lincoln's Speech
Douglas's Reply
Lincoln's Rejoinder

Seventh and Last Joint Debate
15, 1858
Douglas's Speech
Lincoln's Reply
Douglas's Rejoinder














September i8, 1858.

MR. Lincoln's speech.

Ladies and Gentlemen: It will be very difficult
for an audience so large as this to hear distinctly
what a speaker says, and consequently it is im-
portant that as profound silence be preserved as

While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentle-
man called upon me to know whether I was really in
favor of producing a perfect equality between the
negroes and white people. While I had not pro-
posed to myself on this occasion to say much on that
subject, yet a3 the question was asked me I thought
I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying some-
thing in regard to it. I will 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 or jurors of negroes, nor

1 Lincoln and Douglas Debates

of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry
with white people ; and I will say, in addition to this,
that there is a physical difference between the white
and black races which I believe will forever forbid
the two races living together Dn terms of social and
political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot
so live, while they do remain together there must
be the position of superior and inferior, and I as
much as any other man am in favor of having the
superior position assigned to the white race. I say
upon this occasion I do not perceive that because
the white man is to have the superior position the
negro should be denied everything. I do not under-
stand that because I do not want a negro woman for
a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. My
understanding is that I can just let her alone. I am
now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never have
had a black woman for either a slave or a wife. So
it seems to me quite possible for us to get along
without making either slaves or wives of negroes.
I will add to this that I have never seen, to my
knowledge, a man, woman, or child who was in
favor of producing a perfect equality, social and
political, between negroes and white men. I
recollect of but one distinguished instance that I
ever heard of so frequently as to be entirely satisfied
of its correctness, and that is the case of Judge
Douglas's old friend Colonel Richard M. Johnson.
I will also add to the remarks I have made (for I am
not going to enter at large upon this subject), that I
have never had the least apprehension that I or my
friends would marry negroes if there was no law

Abraham Lincoln 3

to keep them from it ; but as Judge Douglas and his
friends seem to be in great apprehension that they
might, if there were no law to keep them from it, I
give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the
very last stand by the law of this State which forbids
the marrying of white people with negroes. I will
add one further word, which is this: that I do not
understand that there is any place where an altera-
tion of the social and political relations of the negro
and the white man can be made, except in the State
Legislature, — not in the Congress of the United
States; and as I do not really apprehend the ap-
proach of any such thing myself, and as Judge
Douglas seems to be in constant horror that some
such danger is rapidly approaching, I propose as the
best means to prevent it that the Judge be kept at
home, and placed in the State Legislature to fight
the measure. I do not propose dwelling longer at
this time on this subject.

When Judge Trumbull, our other Senator in Con-
gress, returned to Illinois in the month of August,
he made a speech at Chicago, in which he made what
may be called a charge against Judge Douglas, which
I understand proved to be very offensive to him.
The Judge was at that time out upon one of his
speaking tours through the country, and when the
news of it reached him, as I am informed, he de-
nounced Judge Trumbull in rather harsh terms for
having said what he did in regard to that matter,
I was travelling at that time, and speaking at the
same places with Judge Douglas on subsequent days,
and when I heard of what Judge Trumbull had said

4 Lincoln and Douglas Debates

of Douglas, and what Douglas had said back again,
I felt that I was in a position where I could not re-
main entirely silent in regard to the matter. Con-
sequently, upon two or three occasions I alluded to
it, and alluded to it in no other wise than to say that
in regard to the charge brought by Trumbull against
Douglas, I personally knew nothing, and sought to
say nothing about it; that I did personally know
Judge Trumbull ; that I believed him to be a man
of veracity; that I believed him to be a man of
capacity sufficient to know very well whether an
assertion he was making, as a conclusion drawn
from a set of facts, was true or false ; and as a con-
clusion of my own from that, I stated it as my belief
if Trumbull should ever be called upon, he would
prove everything he had said. I said this upon two
or three occasions. Upon a subsequent occasion,
Judge Trumbull spoke again before an audience at
Alton, and upon that occasion not only repeated his
charge against Douglas, but arrayed the evidence he
relied upon to substantiate it. This speech was
published at length; and subsequently at Jackson-
ville Judge Douglas alluded to the matter. In the
course of his speech, and near the close of it, he
stated in regard to myself what I will now read:
"Judge Douglas proceeded to remark that he should
not hereafter occupy his time in refuting such
charges made by Trumbull, but that, Lincoln having
indorsed the character of Trumbull for veracity,
he should hold him (Lincoln) responsible for the
slanders." I have done simply what I have told
you, to subject me to this invitation to notice the

Abraham Lincoln 5

charge. I now wish to say that it had not originally
been my purpose to discuss that matter at all. But
inasmuch as it seems to be the wish of Judge Douglas
to hold me responsible for it, then for once in my life
I will play General Jackson, and to the just extent
I take the responsibility.

I wish to say at the beginning that I will hand
to the reporters that portion of Judge Trumbull's
Alton speech which was devoted to this matter,
and also that portion of Judge Douglas's speech made
at Jacksonville in answer to it. I shall thereby
furnish the readers of this debate with the complete
discussion between Trumbull and Douglas. I can-
not now read them, for the reason that it would take
half of my first hour to do so. I can only make some
comments upon them. Trumbull's charge is in the
following words: "Now, the charge is, that there
was a plot entered into to have a constitution
formed for Kansas, and put in force, without giving
the people an opportunity to vote upon it, and that
Mr. Douglas was in the plot." I will state, without
quoting further, for all will have an opportunity of
reading it hereafter, that Judge Trumbull brings
forward what he regards as sufficient evidence to
substantiate this charge.^

It will be perceived Judge Trumbull shows that
Senator Bigler, upon the floor of the Senate, had
declared there had been a conference among the
senators, in which conference it was determined
to have an enabling act passed for the people of
Kansas to form a constitution under, and in this

« See Trumbull's speech at the close of this debate.

6 Lincoln and Douglas Debates

conference it was agreed among them that it was
best not to have a provision for submitting the con-
stitution to a vote of the people after it should be
formed. He then brings forward to show, and
showing, as he deemed, that Judge Douglas reported
the bill back to the Senate with that clause stricken
out. He then shows that there was a new clause
inserted into the bill, which would in its nature
prevent a reference of the constitution back for a
vote of the people, — if, indeed, upon a mere silence
in the law, it could be assumed that they had the
right to vote upon it. These are the general state-
ments that he has made.

I propose to examine the points in Judge Douglas's
speech in which he attempts to answer that speech
of Judge Trumbull's. When you come to examine
Judge Douglas's speech, you will find that the first
point he makes is: "Suppose it were true that there
was such a change in the bill, and that I struck it
out, — is that a proof of a plot to force a constitution
upon them against their will?" His striking out
such a provision, if there was such a one in the bill,
he argues, does not establish the proof that it was
stricken out for the purpose of robbing the people of
that right. I would say, in the first place, that that
would be a most manifest reason for it. It is true, as
Judge Douglas states, that many Territorial bills
have passed without having such a provision in
them. I believe it is true, though I am not certain,
that in some instances constitutions framed under
such bills have been submitted to a vote of the people
with the law silent upon the subject; but it does

Abraham Lincoln 7

not appear that they once had their enabhng acts
framed with an express provision for submitting the
constitution to be framed to a vote of the people,
and then that they were stricken out when Congress
did not mean to alter the effect of the law. That
there have been bills which never had the provision
in, I do not question; but when was that provision
taken out of one that it was in? More especially
does this evidence tend to prove the proposition that
Trumbull advanced, when we remember that the
provision was stricken out of the bill almost simul-
taneously with the time that Bigler says there was
a conference among certain senators, and in which it
was agreed that a bill should be passed leaving that
out. Judge Douglas, in answering Trumbull, omits
to attend to the testimony of Bigler, that there was
a meeting in which it was agreed they should so frame
the bill that there should be no submission of the
constitution to a vote of the people. The Judge
does not notice this part of it. If you take this
as one piece of evidence, and then ascertain that
simultaneously Judge Douglas struck out a provi-
sion that did require it to be submitted, and put the
two together, I think it will make a pretty fair show
of proof that Judge Douglas did, as Trumbull says,
enter into a plot to put in force a constitution for
Kansas, without giving the people any opportunity
of voting upon it.

But I must hurry on. The next proposition that
Judge Douglas puts is this: "But upon examination
it turns out that the Toombs bill never did contain
a clause requiring the constitution to be submitted."

8 Lincoln and Douglas Debates

This is a mere question of fact, and can be deter-
mined by evidence. I only want to ask this ques-
tion: Why did not Judge Douglas say that these
words were not stricken out of the Toombs bill, or
this bill from which it is alleged the provision was
stricken out, — a bill which goes by the name of
Toombs, because he originally brought it forward ? I
ask why, if the Judge wanted to make a direct issue
with Trumbull, did he not take the exact proposition
Trumbull made in his speech, and say it was not
stricken out? Trumbull has given the exact words
that he says were in the Toombs bill, and he alleges
that when the bill came back, they were stricken
out. Judge Douglas does not say that the words
which Trumbull says were stricken out were not so
stricken out, but he says there was no provision in
the Toombs bill to submit the constitution to a vote
of the people. We see at once that he is merely
making an issue upon the meaning of the words.
He has not undertaken to say that Trumbull tells
a lie about these words being stricken out, but he
is really, when pushed up to it, only taking an issue
upon the meaning of the words. Now, then, if there
be any issue upon the meaning of the words, or if
there be upon the question of fact as to whether these
words were stricken out, I have before me what I
suppose to be a genuine copy of the Toombs bill, in
which it can be shown that the words Trumbull says
were in it were, in fact, originally there. If there be
any dispute upon the fact, I have got the documents
here to show they were there. If there be any con-
troversy upon the sense of the words, — whether

Abraham Lincoln 9

these words which were stricken out really con-
stituted a provision for submitting the matter to a
vote of the people, — as that is a matter of argument,
I think I may as well use Trumbull's own argument.
He says that the proposition is in these words:

" That the following propositions be and the same are
hereby offered to the said Convention of the people of
Kansas when formed, for their free acceptance or rejec-
tion; which, if accepted by the Convention and ratified
by the people at tlie election for the adoption of the constitu-
tion, shall be obligatory upon the United States and the
said State of Kansas."

Now, Trumbull alleges that these last words were
stricken out of the bill when it came back, and he
says this was a provision for submitting the constitu-
tion to a vote of the people; and his argument is
this: "Would it have been possible to ratify the
land propositions at the election for the adoption of
the constitution, unless such an election, was to be
held?" This is Trumbull's argument. Now, Judge
Douglas does not meet the charge at all, but he
stands up and says there was no such proposition
in that bill for submitting the constitution to be
framed to a vote of the people. Trumbull admits
that the language is not a direct provision for sub-
mitting it, but it is a provision necessarily implied
from another provision. He asks you how it is pos-
sible to ratify the land proposition at the election for
the adoption of the constitution, if there was no
election to be held for the adoption of the constitu-
tion. And he goes on to show that it is not any less
a law because the provision is put in that indirect

lo Lincoln and Douglas Debates

shape than it would be if it were put directly. But
I presume I have said enough to draw attention to
this point, and I pass it by also.

Another one of the points that Judge Douglas
makes upon Trumbull, and at very great length, is,
that Trumbull, while the bill was pending, said in a
speech in the Senate that he supposed the constitu-
tion to be made would have to be submitted to the
people. He asks, if Trumbull thought so then, what
ground is there for anybody thinking otherwise now ?
Fellow-citizens, this much may be said in reply:
That bill had been in the hands of a party to which
Trumbull did not belong. It had been in the hands
of the committee at the head of which Judge
Douglas stood. Trumbull perhaps had a printed
copy of the original Toombs bill. I have not the
evidence on that point except a sort of inference I
draw from the general course of business there.
What alterations, or what provisions in the way of
altering, were going on in committee, Trumbull had
no means of knowing, until the altered bill was
reported back. vSoon afterwards, when it was re-
ported back, there was a discussion over it, and per-
haps Trumbull in reading it hastily in the altered
form did not perceive all the bearings of the altera-
tions. He was hastily borne into the debate, and
it does not follow that because there was something
in it Trumbull did not perceive, that something did
not exist. More than this, is it true that what
Trumbull did can have any effect on what Douglas
did? Suppose Trumbull had been in the plot with
these other men, would that let Douglas out of it?

Abraham Lincoln ii

Would it exonerate Douglas that Tnimbull didn't
then perceive he was in the plot? He also asks the
question: Why didn't Trumbull propose to amend
the bill, if he thought it needed any amendment?
Why, I believe that everything Judge Trumbull had
proposed, particularly in connection with this ques-
tion of Kansas and Nebraska, since he had been on
the floor of the Senate, had been promptly voted
down by Judge Douglas and his friends. He had no
promise that an amendment offered by him to any-
thing on this subject would receive the slightest
consideration. Judge Trumbull did bring to the
notice of the Senate at that time the fact that there
was no provision for submitting the constitution
about to be made for the people of Kansas to a vote
of the people. I believe I may venture to say that
Judge Douglas made some reply to this speech of
Judge Trumbull's, hut he never noticed that part of it
at all. And so the thing passed by. I think, then,
the fact that Judge Trumbull offered no amendment
does not throw much blame upon him; and if it did,
it does not reach the question of fact as to what Judge
Douglas was doing. I repeat, that if Trumbull had
himself been in the plot, it would not at all relieve
the others who were in it from blame. If I should
be indicted for murder, and upon the trial it should
be discovered that I had been implicated in that
murder, but that the prosecuting witness was guilty
too, that would not at all touch the question of my
crime. It would be no relief to my neck that they
discovered this other man who charged the crime
upon me to be guilty too.

12 Lincoln and Douglas Debates

Another one of the points Judge Douglas makes
upon Judge Trumbull is, that when he spoke in
Chicago he made his charge to rest upon the fact that
the bill had the provision in it for submitting the
constitution to a vote of the people when it went
into his (Judge Douglas's) hands, that it was missing
when he reported it to the Senate, and that in a
public speech he had subsequently said the altera-
tions in the bill were made while it was in com-
mittee, and that they were made in consultation
between him (Judge Douglas) and Toombs. And
Judge Douglas goes on to comment upon the fact of
Trumbull's adducing in his Alton speech the pro-
position that the bill not only came back with that
proposition stricken out, but with another clause
and another provision in it, saying that "until the
complete execution of this Act there shall be no elec-
tion in said Territory," — which, Trumbull argued,
was not only taking the provision for submitting to a
vote of the people out of the bill, but was adding an
affirmative one, in that it prevented the people from
exercising the right under a bill that was merely
silent on the question. Now, in regard to what he
says, that Trumbull shifts the issue, that he shifts
his ground, — and I believe he uses the term that,
"it being proven false, he has changed ground," —
I call upon all of you, when you come to examine
that portion of Trumbull's speech (for it will make a
part of mine), to examine whether Trumbull has
shifted his ground or not. I say he did not shift his
ground, but that he brought forward his original
charge and the evidence to sustain it yet more fully,

Abraham Lincoln 13

but precisely as he originally made it. Then, in
addition thereto, he brought in a new piece of evi-
dence. He shifted no ground. He brought no new
piece of evidence inconsistent with his former
testimony; but he brought a new piece, tending, as
he thought, and as I think, to prove his proposition.
To illustrate: A man brings an accusation against
another, and on trial the man making the charge
introduces A and B to prove the accusation. At a
second trial he introduces the same witnesses, who
tell the same story as before, and a third witness,
who tells the same thing, and in addition gives
further testimony corroborative of the charge. So
with Trumbull. There was no shifting of ground,
nor inconsistency of testimony between the new
piece of evidence and what he originally introduced.
But Judge Douglas says that he himself moved to
strike out that last provision of the bill, and that
on his motion it was stricken out and a substitute
inserted. That I presume is the truth. I presume
it is true that that last proposition was stricken out
by Judge Douglas. Trumbull has not said it was not ;
Trumbull has himself said that it was so stricken
out. He says: "I am now speaking of the bill as
Judge Douglas reported it back. It was amended
somewhat in the Senate before it passed, but I am
speaking of it as he brought it back." Now, when
Judge Douglas parades the fact that the provision
was stricken out of the bill when it came back, he
asserts nothing contrary to what Trumbull alleges.
Trumbull has only said that he originally put it in, —
not that he did not strike it out. Trumbull says it

H Lincoln and Douglas Debates

was not in the bill when it went to the committee.
When it came back it was in, and Judge Douglas
said the alterations were made by him in consulta-
tion with Toombs. Trumbull alleges, therefore, as
his conclusion, that Judge Douglas put it in. Then,
if Douglas wants to contradict Trumbull and call him
a liar, let him say he did not put it in, and not that
he did n't take it out again. It is said that a bear
is sometimes hard enough pushed to drop a cub;
and so I presume it was in this case. I presume the
truth is that Douglas put it in, and afterward took
it out. That, I take it, is the truth about it. Judge
Trumbull says one thing, Douglas says another thing,
and the two don't contradict one another at all.
The question is. What did he put it in for? In the
first place, what did he take the other provision
out of the bill for, — the provision which Trumbull
argued was necessary for submitting the constitution
to a vote of the people ? What did he take that out
for; and, having taken it out, what did he put this
in for? I say that in the run of things it is not
unlikely forces conspire to render it vastly expedient
for Judge Douglas to take that latter clause out again.
The question that Trumbull has made is that Judge
Douglas put it in; and he don't meet Trumbull at
all unless he denies that.

In the clause of Judge Douglas's speech upon this
subject he uses this language toward Judge Trum-
bull. He says: "He forges his evidence from
beginning to end; and by falsifying the record, he
endeavors to bolster up his false charge." Well,
that is a pretty serious statement — Trumbull

Abraham Lincoln 15

forges his evidence from beginning to end. Now,
upon my own authority I say that it is not true.
What is a forgery? Consider the evidence that
Trumbull has brought forward. When you come
to read the speech, as you will be able to, examine
whether the evidence is a forgery from beginning to
end. He had the bill or document in his hand like
that [holding up a paper]. He says that is a copy
of the Toombs bill, — the amendment offered by
Toombs. He says that is a copy of the bill as it was
introduced and went into Judge Douglas's hands.
Now, does Judge Douglas say that is a forgery?
That is one thing Trumbull brought forward.
Judge Douglas says he forged it from beginning to
end! That is the "beginning," we will say. Does
Douglas say that is a forgery ? Let him say it to-day,
and we will have a subsequent examination upon
this subject. Trumbull then holds up another docu-
ment like this, and says that is an exact cop}^ of the

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