The people of Illinois have, no doubt, been greatly surprised by the decision of the attorney general of the United States, that negroes are citizens of the United States, and are, consequently, entitled to the privilege of admission to and settlement in any of the states. This decision comes home with great force to the voters of Illinois. No longer ago than last June; at a general election, they voted for the exclusion of negroes from this state, by a vote of near five to one. In Lovejoy's own county, which gives a thousand republican majority, the vote for the exclusion was 1,604 to 580 against.
In Sangamon county, Mr. Lincoln's home, the vote, for it was 6,028 to 433. This disproportion is carried out in a greater degree in almost every other county. Only nine counties in the state [unknown line] counties, as the census tables will show, there are not fifty negroes in all, notwithstanding those counties have for ten years past been in the underground railroad interest. The county of Cook, where abolition has had full sway, the vote stood, for exclusion 11,033 to 4,413. Other northern counties gave a difference greatly exceeding this, and in many of the central counties the vote was almost unanimous. For instance, Cass, 1,909 against 7; Christian, 2,132 against 18; Coles, 2,749 against 23; Fayette, 2,065 against 17; Fulton, 4,465 against 310; Greene, 2,575 against 17; Macon, 2,712 against 24; Macoupin, 4,383 against 52; Madison, 4,259 against 59; Marshall, 2,506 against 78; Mason, 1,681 against 165; McDonough, 3,487 against 230; Menard, 1,734 against 3; Scott, 1,468 against 13; Shelby, 2,755 against 4. We have selected the counties from central Illinois as samples, for the purpose of showing what the opinion is there. We say nothing about south Illinois, which is entirely one sided for exclusion.
The people of Illinois have given notice to the world that negroes shall not come here, and have fixed it in their constitution. Our people intend that they shall stay where they are. Even the abolitionists will not have them here. Those counties that voted for their admission did so safely, because they knew the blacks would not settle among them, as we have shown. The supreme court of the United States has solemnly decided that the negro cannot be a citizen, thereby deciding that we have a right to exclude them from our state. The abolition attorney general overrules this decision, and now the question arises whether our people are to claim their rights under our constitution and the decision of the highest tribunal known under the federal and state governments, or are we to knuckle under to an order of Mr. Lincoln's attorney, setting these rights aside. That is the question. The president has claimed for himself, in reference to many matters, powers that can be exercised only by congress. He has also assumed functions that belong only to the courts. He now, through his attorney general, sets aside a decision of the supreme court. Here then, we have all the departments of the government consolidated in the president. He is congress, court and executive. This is not the way our fathers fixed it. They made them distinct and independent, and made them so for the protection of the people against usurpation and tyranny. Every citizen knows that when the supreme court of the United States is stricken down, the anchor of republican liberty is gone. The administration ignores it, and our public policy is now that of an unlimited autocracy.
The scheme now is, to not only open the northern states to a negro hegira, but to Africanize the south by a proclamation of citizenship — a process which, added to an exclusion of "inconvenient" votes, will give the present dynasty some prolongation. Truly, the administration, weak as it is, cannot be charged with want of ingenuity. Not long ago, the republican malcontents, to carry their ends, conspired to deprive the south of votes; now they seek to make voters there, of the proper color, for the same purpose. The lamented Douglas, in December, 1860, wrote on this subject as follows:
"The fact can no longer be disguised that many of the republican senators desire war and disunion, under pretext of saving the Union. They wish to get rid of the southern senators, in order to have a majority in the senate, to confirm the appointments, and many of them think they can hold a permanent republican ascendency in the northern states, but not in the whole Union; for partisan reasons, therefore, they are anxious to dissolve the Union. If it can be done without holding them responsible before the people."
Election for congress have been ordered in the south, in districts formed by order of the president — "the forms of law, to be followed as far as convenient." This will strengthen the dynasty for the present. The negro is now declared to be a citizen. This, it is anticipated, will secure it in the future. It remains to be seen whether these anomalous and revolutionary measures will receive the sanction of a people jealous of their liberties. Votes made in the way indicated, for the purpose of overriding the constitution, will be countervailed by an overwhelming movement in preservation of popular rights and republican government.