Douglas Platform as Illustrated by the Richmond Enquirer.
August 2, 1858.
Douglas entire stock in trade seems to be falsehood. It is the ground work and superstructure of every speech he makes. His argument on the stump against Mr. Lincoln is a continuous reiteration of charges which he knows are wholly without any foundation in truth or honesty. The statements which he dishes up with so much seriousness, that Mr. Lincoln believes in interfering with slavery in the States where it exists; that he is for dissolving the union if he can not abolish slavery, etc. etc., all of which Mr. Lincoln has, time and again, branded with the stamp of falsehood, are again and again reproduced by Douglas in the most unblushing manner and served up for the benefit of the pro-slavery Democracy.
Now, that Mr. Lincoln holds to no such opinions as Douglas falsely attributes to him, every man who has read his various speeches well knows; but perhaps all do not know that, instead of Mr. Lincoln and the Republicans holding to ultra and disorganizing opinions, they are actually held by Judge Douglas, his party and party friends.
The Richmond Enquirer is one of Judge Douglas' pet organs. It is continually seeking to apologize for his defection from the Democracy. It is the organ also of Gov. Wise, of Virginia, who is in the same boat with Douglas, and who must sink or swim with him. Hear what this paper says of our Senator:
"He (Senator Douglas) assumes at once the responsibility of indorsing and defending the Dred Scott decision, thus throwing the gauntlet at the onset to the minions of fanaticism. This is the man whom some of our disunion contemporaries still persist in taxing with Black republican affiliation. We predict that the best of these violent assailants will, ere long, retract every hasty expression hitherto employed against the man who is fighting so ardently the constitutional rights of the South on Northern soil."
Hear the Enquirer again. In its issue of the 26th it says:
"In his late speech at Springfield, Mr. Douglas distinctly admits that Congress has no right to prohibit slavery in the Territories, and hence the Territorial Legislatures have no right to do it. Thus Mr. Douglas has gone to the full extent of the doctrine expounded by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, and asserted by the President in the Silliman letter.
"With this clear and just appreciation of the principles involved, we do not doubt that Mr. Douglas combines an entire willingness to recognize and perform WHATEVER PATRIOTIC DUTIES this acknowledgment of principles may dictate. That Mr. Douglas, in common with the other statesmen who prepared and enacted the Nebraska bill, has more than one serious error to atone for in that respect, can not be denied. But we are ready to believe that these errors involved no wilful negligence of constitutional right; and if past records, or present avowals, or both together, constitute a reliable test, no statesman of the North and very few at the South have defended the rights of slaveholders more warmly and effectually, or have committed fewer errors in the course of honest and earnest efforts in behalf of the inforcement of constitutional guarantees, than has Stephen A. Douglas."
What those "patriotic duties" are, which spring from the "doctrines of the Dred Scott case," are easily to be understood. They are the nationalization of slavery, not only in the Territories, but likewise in the states. The Enquirer fully explains this in the following article:
"Repeatedly have we asked the North, Has not the experiment of universal liberty failed? Are not the evils of free society insufferable? And do not most thinking men among you propose to subvert and reconstruct it? Still no answer. The gloomy silence is another conclusive evidence we have furnished that free society in the long run is an impracticable form of society; it is everywhere starving, demoralizing and insurrectionary.
"We repeat, then, that policy and humanity alike forbid the extension of the evils of free society to new people and coming generations.
"Two opposite and conflicting forms of society can not, among civilized men, coexist and endure. The one must give way and cease to exist; the other become universal.
"If free society be unnatural, immoral, unchristian, it must fall, and give way to slave society -- a social system old as the world, universal as man."
These are the sentiments not merely of the Richmond Enquirer, but also of Judge Douglas himself. His speeches on the stump, purposely made to hide the true aim which he has in view, enunciate the Enquirer's doctrines most unmistakably.
The Enquirer states Mr. Douglas' position truly, when it says, in his Springfield speech, he fully admits that neither Congress nor the Territorial Legislatures have any right to prohibit slavery in their midst, and that the doctrine of the right of the people to exclude it, is all humbug.
The Enquirer truly says that Mr. Douglas has gone to full extent of the doctrine expressed in the Dred Scott case and asserted in the Silliman letter namely, that the Constitution carries slavery with it into every State and Territory, and that "slavery already exists in Kansas under the Constitution, just as securely as it does in Georgia or South Carolina." He further indorses the doctrines of the Enquirer by affirming that universal liberty, or uniformity of government, as he calls it, is impossible, impracticable and demoralizing in its tendencies; that this Union could not exist if all the States were free, and that, therefore, he is opposed to the people of any slave State extinguishing slavery in their midst, no matter how much they may desire to.
He says that two opposite and conflicting forms of society cannot endure; consequently that slavery must be made equal with freedom in every respect; that it must be allowed free way in the Territories, and that he who opposes its extension is opposing one of the corner stones of the Union.
Douglas believes free society to be unnatural, immoral and unchristian, because he believes the African to be designed by God for bondage, to be a natural slave, and consequently that any attempt to resist the decree of Providence must be "unnatural, immoral and unchristian."
Douglas also believes slavery to be "a social system, old as the world, universal as man," and as such, he believes in its perpetuation and extension. Washington and Jefferson believed the time would come when it would cease to exist. Douglas believes it will endure forever, and that it is the very palladium of our Union.
Douglas, remarks the Chicago Democrat, in view of all this, should say no more about Lincoln's views upon the slavery question, while he himself and his pet organs are advocating precisely similar principles to those Douglas charged upon his opponent, with this difference, that while Lincoln is charged with being in favor of freedom, Douglas and his organs are maintaining the universality and perpetuity of slavery.