Great Debate Between Lincoln and Douglas at Freeport.
September 3, 1858.
Fifteen Thousand Persons Present. The Dred Scott Champion "Trotted Out" and "Brought to his Milk." It Proves To Be Stump-Tailed. Great Caving-in on the Ottawa Forgery. He Was "Conscientious" About It. Why Chase's Amendment was Voted Down. Lincoln Tumbles Him All Over Stephenson County.
Sept. 3, 1858.
I want to call your attention to the action of your Representatives in the Legislature, when they got together. In the first place, you must remember that they was the organization of a new party. It is so expressed in the resolutions. They were then going to dissolve all old political ties, and make a new party called the Republican party. The old Whig party was to have its throat cut and be destroyed. The Democratic party was to be annihilated and blotted out of existence, and in lieu of them this Republican party was to be organized with this abolition platform. We know who the chief leaders in breaking up and destroying those two great parties were. Lincoln on the one hand and Trumbull on the other hand, being disappointed politicians, and having retired and been driven by their constituents into obscurity because of their political sins, formed a scheme to abolitionize the two parties, and lead the old line Whigs and Democrats, bound hand and foot, into the abolition camp having Fred Douglass, and Chase, and Giddings ready to christen them whenever they brought them into the Abolition camp. Lincoln went to work to dissolve the old Whig party. Clay was dead, although the sod was not green on his grave. He undertook to bring into disrepute those great compromise measures of 1850 with which Clay had been identified. Up to 1854, the old Whig party and the old Democratic party had stood on a common platform so far as this slavery question was concerned. We differ -- you Whigs and Democrats differed about a Bank, about a tariff, about a distribution, about a speech circular, about the sub treasury, but we agreed upon this slavery question, and the true mode of preserving the peace and harmony of the Union with it. The Compromise measures of 1850, introduced by Clay, and defended by Webster, supported by Cass, approved by Fillmore, and sanctioned by all the national mend of both parties, constituted the common plank upon which Whigs and Democrats stood. Then again in 1852, the Whig party in its National Convention at Baltimore -- the last Whig convention ever held endorsed and approved these Compromise measures of Clay. So did the Democratic Convention do the same thing. And thus all the Old Line Whigs and Old Line Democrats stood pledged to the great principles of self-government, which guarantees to the people of each State and each Territory to decide the slavery question for themselves, as laid down in the compromise measures of 1850, and carried out in the Kansas Nebraska bill of 1854. After the death of Clay and Webster, Mr. Lincoln, on the part of the Whigs, undertook to abolitionize the Whig party, disolve it, and transfer the members of that party into the abolition camp, and make them train under Giddings, Lovejoy, Farnsworth, and the other Abolition leaders. Trumbull undertook to dissolve the Democratic party by first abolitionizing it and then taking the old Democrats into the Abolition camp. Lincoln was aided in his efforts by many leading Whigs, old members of Congress, Washburne being of the most active. Trumbull on his part was aided by many renegades from the Democrats, such men as John Wentworth and others familiar to you.
MR. TURNER. -- I drew those resolutions.
MR. DOUGLAS -- Turner assisted in drawing these resolutions, too, he says. [Loud cheers.] That's right. Give Turner the cheers for drawing the resolutions, if you approve of them. If Mr. Turner drew these abolition resolutions, he won't deny but what they are the creed of the Republican party.
MR. TURNER -- They are our creed exactly.
JUDGE DOUGLAS -- Turner says they are his that is, the Black Republican creed exactly, yet Mr. Lincoln denies that he stands upon them. Turner says that the creed of the Republican party here is no more slave States; yet Mr. Lincoln says he would not like to be put in a position where he would have to vote on it. Well, now, all I have to say to Mr. Lincoln is that I don't think there is much danger of his position where he will have to vote on the admission of a slave State. I prepare out of mere kindness, to relieve him of the necessity of that vote. [Laughter.]
But when this alliance between Lincoln and Trumbull was completed for the purpose of abolitionizing the Whig and Democratic parties in 1854, they spread over the State, Lincoln yet pretending to be an old line Whig -- you know it would rope in the old line Whigs -- Trumbull pretending to be as good a Democrat as he ever was, in order to coax the Democrats into the abolition camp. Trumbull and Lincoln played the part in 1854 that a decoy duck does down on the Potomac. You know they make them an artificial duck and send him out to decoy the wild ducks into the net, and Trumbull and Lincoln were the decoy ducks here to decoy the old line Whigs and Democrats into the abolition camp, and when they got them there they elected a Black Republican Legislature, and when they got together, the first thing they did was to elect for Speaker of the House the very man that now boasts that he wrote the abolition platform on which Lincoln won't stand. I want to know of Mr. Turner if, when he was elected Speaker, he was not a good embodiment of Republican principles?
MR. TURNER -- I hope I was.
JUDGE DOUGLAS -- He says he hopes he was. He wrote that platforms and stands to day upon it. [Applause and cries of "Hurrah for Turner."] I admire Turner's honesty in that. Every man of you knows that what he says about that being the principles of the party is true, and you know that every on of these men who shuffles and tries to deny, is only trying to cheat the people out of their votes until after election. There is the platform of the party.
I propose not to trace this matter a little further, and see how much evidence there is to fasten this Black Republican revolutionary platform upon them. When the Legislature got together there was a United States Senator to be elected in the place of Shields, and before they would proceed to the election of the Senator the Republicans or Abolitionists in the House insisted upon laying down certain principles by which to govern the party. It has been published to the world, and satisfactorily proved, that there was at the time the alliance was made between Trumbull and Lincoln to abolitionize the two parties, an agreement that Lincoln was to take Shields' place in the United States Senate, and Trumbull was to take mine so soon as I could be got rid of conveniently; [laughter] and when Mr. Lincoln was beaten for Shields' place in a manner I will refer to in a few minutes, Lincoln felt very sore, and his friends grumbled, and some of them came out and charged that there was bad faith and treachery, that there was the most infamous treachery in the world -- that the bargain was, that Lincoln was to have Shields' place and Trumbull mine, but that Trumbull, having the votes of a few Abolition Democrats under his control, would not let them vote for Lincoln, but kept them back until they finally drove the rest into voting for Trumbull. And Trumbull having thus cheated Lincoln out of the place, Lincoln's friends made a great deal of fuss, and in order to keep Lincoln quiet, they had to come forward and pledge themselves in advance to the State Convention that they would be for Lincoln and nobody else. Lincoln could be satisfied in no other way, and you Black Republicans -- [Loud cries of "White Republicans, White Republicans!"] I wish to remind you that there was not a Democrat here vulgar enough to interrupt Mr. Lincoln when he was talking. I know the shoe is pinching you when I am clinching Lincoln, and you are scared to death for the result. I have seen these men when they make appointments for join discussion, and then the moment their man has been heard try to interrupt and prevent a fair hearing. I have seen your mobs before, and I defy your wrath. [These remarks were followed by considerable disturbance in the crowd ending in a cheer.] Don't cheer; I need my whole time.
Their object is to occupy it, so I shall not go through with the evidence showing this double dealing on the Black Republican party.
When the Legislature got together and were going into the election of Senator of the United States, Lovejoy offered some resolutions which I hold in my hand. I will read the resolution and hand the preamble to the reporters, that they may publish the whole.
Resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate occurring therein, That our Senators in Congress be instructed, and our Representatives 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 United States.
Resolved, That our Senators in Congress be instructed, and our Representatives requested to introduce and vote for a bill to repeal an act entitled "an act respecting fugitives from justice and persons escaping from the service of their masters," and, failing in that, for such a modification of it as shall secure the right of habeas corpus trial by jury, before the regularly constituted authorities of the State, to all persons claimed as owing service as labor.
Now these resolutions were introduced by Lovejoy immediately proceeding the election for Senator. These resolutions declare that the Wilmot Proviso must be put on all country North of 36 deg. 30 min., which we ever own or ever shall acquire -- that no more slave States shall be admitted into the Union, under any circumstances whatever, no matter whether we acquire them by treaty, conquest purchase, or any other manner. The next is for the unconditional repeal of the fugitive slave law, and for its unconditional repeal, leaving no provisions for carrying into effect that a clause in the Constitution which guarantees the surrender of fugitives; but if they failed in the unconditional repeal, then they were to modify it in the manner therein pointed out. But they were opposed to any such law. If they could not get that, then get one 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 41 in the affirmative, and 32 in the negative, and here are votes, which I will hand to the reporter to copy.
These who voted in the affirmative were:
Messrs. Allen of Madison, Babcock, Beal, Brown of Knox, Courtney, Day, Diggins, Dunlap, Foss, Foster, Grove, Hackney, Henry, Henderson, Hills, Holbrook, Jones, Johns, Lawrence, Lee, Little, Logan, Lovejoy, Lyman, McClure, McClun, Parks of Logan, Parks of Will, Patton, Pinckney, Richmond of Cook, Riblet, Rice, Sargeat, Strawn, Strunk, Sullivan, Swan, Waters, Wheeler, Mr. Speaker.
Those voting in the negative were:
Messrs. Alled of Williamson, Bennett, Baker, Bradford, Brown of Scott, Cline, Dearborn, Funkhouser, Gregg, Higbee, Hinch, Homer, Hopkins, Haliday, Kinney, Martin, Masters, McCrillis, McClain, McDaniel, Morrison, Moulton, Presmond of Schuvler, Sams, Seehorn, Tanner, Trapp, Walker.
You will find that it is a strict party vote between the Democrats and the Black Republicans so far as I know their names, and now the immediate point to which I want to call your attention is this: these resolutions were adopted on the 7th of February. On the 8th of February they went to into the election of United States Senator, and on that day every man who voted for these resolutions with two exceptions voted for Mr. Lincoln for United States Senator.
A Voice. -- Give us the names.
JUDGE DOUGLAS -- Yes, I will give them to you, if you want them, but I believe your object is to occupy my time. On the adoption of the next resolution the vote was 33 in the affirmative to 40 in the negative. On the next resolution the vote was 25 in the affirmative to 47 in the negative. The point to which I call your particular attention is that every man who voted for these resolutions, with two exceptions, voted for Mr. Lincoln the next day for United States Senator. Now bear in mind that these members who thus voted for the amendment were elected pledged to vote for no man for office under the State of Federal Government who was not committed to this Black Republican platform as I read it at Ottawa. They were pledged to that. Here were your members, among whom was Turner, who stands by me, and says he wrote the resolutions, and voted for Mr. Lincoln when he was pledged not to vote for Mr. Lincoln unless he was committed to these resolutions. Now, I ask Mr. Turner, did you violate your pledge in voting for Mr. Lincoln, or did Mr. Lincoln commit himself before you gave the vote? Not only is the name of Turner here, but there are names from the adjoining counties. I could go through the whole list of the Black Republican party in the Legislature, with two exceptions; for instance, here is the name of Thomas J. Turner, of Stevenson, Lyman, of Winnebago, Lynn, Lawrence, of McHenry, Swan, from Lake, &c., and thus you see that every member from you Congressional District voted unless he was committed to this doctrine of no more Slave States, and the prohibition of slavery in the Territories, and the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law. Yet Mr. Lincoln tells Mr. Lincoln was then committed to these propositions, or Mr. Turner violated his pledge to you by voting for him. Either Mr. Lincoln was pledged to Mr. Turner, or elseall the Black Republicans from this District violated their pledge of honor to their constituents by voting for him. Now, I ask you, which horn of the dilemma will you take? Will you hold Lincoln to the platform of the party, or will you believe that every member you had in the House of Representatives with two exceptions violated their pledges of honor to their constituents? So you see there is no escape for Mr. Lincoln on this pledge. He was committed to this proposition or you members violated their pledge. Take either horn of the dilemma -- there is no dodging of the question.
Now, a word or two in regard to Mr. Lincoln's answer on this question. He says he was not pledged to the repeal of the fugitive slave law. He was not pledged to it -- doesn't quite like it wouldn't introduce a law to repeal it -- thinks there ought to be some law -- didn't tell what it is, and upon the whole don't know what to do. That is the substance of his answer about the fugitive slave law. I put the question whether he indorsed that principle of entire abrogation and repeal. He answers, no. Then he will not tell what he will introduce -- if he will introduce anything. If any body else does do so, I ask him how he will vote, and his answer comes to no answer at all. Why can't he speak out and say what he is for and what he will do? In regard to there being any more slave States, he is not pledged on that. He wouldn't like to put himself in a position where he would have to vote either way. I pray you now, don't put him in a position to embarrass him so much. But if he goes to the Senate he may be put in that position, and I ask which way would he vote? Will he vote for or against the admission of a slave State?
A VOICE -- How will you vote?
JUDGE DOUGLAS -- I will vote for just such a State as the people forming the constitutions may want. If they want slavery, they shall have it. If they want to prohibit slavery, they may do it. They may do one thing or the other, as they please, and I will receive them under the Constitution. Why don't your Republican candidates talk out as plain as that, when we put a question? I do not desire to deceive any man out of his vote. No man shall be deceived in my principles if I have the power to express myself in terms clear and distinct enough to convey my idea and meaning. Mr. Lincoln made a speech at Springfield, when nominated for the United States Senate, which covers all of these abolition principles. He then lays down a proposition so broad in its abolitionism as to cover the entire ground. He says that:
"In my opinion this agitation will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. ‘A house divided against itself can not stand.’ I believe this Government can not endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the house to fail; but I expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South."
Then you find that Mr. Lincoln lays down the doctrine that this nation can not endure, divide, as our fathers made it, into free and slave States. He says they must become one way, or all the other -- must all become free or all become slave; other wise the Union can not continue to exist.
That being the case in his opinion, if we have any more Slave States, so that it would continue to be divided, it would dissolve the Union. I want to know whether Mr. Lincoln will vote for another Slave State, believing that the effect of it will dissolve the Union. I want to know whether Mr. Lincoln will vote for another Slave State, believing that the effect of it will be to make them all free in order that the Union may exist. Yet he will vote for another Slave State, knowing that it would dissolve the Union if he did. I ask you if this is fair dealing? The true intent and inevitable conclusion from his Springfield speech is, that he is opposed to the admission of any more Slave States under any circumstances. If so, why does he not say so? If he believes that his country cannot exist divided into Free and Slave, if he believes they must all become free in order to save the Union, he is bound as an honest man to vote against any more Slave States. If he believes that, he is bound to do it. Show me that it is my duty under the Constitution, in order to save the Union, he is bound as an honest man to vote against any more Slave States. If he believes that, he is bound to do it. Show me that it is my duty under the Constitution, in order to save the Union, to do a particular act and I will do it, if the Constitution does not prohibit me. I am not for the dissolution of the Union under any circumstances. I will pursue no course of conduct to give just cause for the dissolution of the Union under any circumstances. I will pursue no course of conduct to give just cause for the dissolution of the Union. The hope of the friends of freedom throughout the world rest upon the perpetuity of this Union. The friends of liberty in the old world -- the down-trodden people under European despotism, all look with hope and anxiety to the American Union as the only resting place and permanent home of freedom and self-government; and not believing, as Mr. Lincoln will not tell you definitely whether he would vote for more Slave States and thus dissolve the Union, but he says he would like to be put to the test. Well, I don't think he will be put to the test. I don't think the people of Illinois desire a man to represent them who would not like to be put to the test in the performance of a high constitutional duty. I will retire in shame from the Senate of the United States when I am not willing to be put to the test in the performance of my duty. [Applause.] I have been part to several tests. I have stood by my principles in fair weather and foul -- in the sunshine an in the rain. I have defended the great principles of self-government here among you, when Northern sentiment ran in a torrent against it. I have defended the same great principle of self-government, when Southern sentiments come down with its avalanche upon me. I was not afraid of the test they put to me. I knew I was right that the principles were sound; I knew the people would say in the end I had done right that the God of Heaven would smile upon me if I was faithful in the performance of my duty. But Mr. Lincoln attempts to bolster up his charge of corruption against the Supreme Court of the United States and two Presidents of the United States and myself by pleading an offset, and saying I did the same thing on the Washington Union. Suppose I did make the charge of corruption against the Washington Union when it was true, does that justify his making one against me others where it is false? That is the question I want to put to him. He says that at the time the Nebraska Bill was introduced, before its passage, there was a conspiracy between the Judge of the Supreme Court and President Pierce and Mr. Buchanan an myself, pending that decision to break down the barriers and establish slavery all over the Union. Gentlemen, he knew that that charge is historically also as against Mr. Buchanan. He knows that Mr. Buchanan was at that time in England, representing his country with distinguished ability in the court of St. James, and had been there for a long time, and I did not come home for a year afterwards. He knows that fact, which proves to be false in reference to Mr. Buchanan. Again I have called his attention to the fact that at the time the Dred Scott case was not pending before the Supreme Court at all. It had never been brought before the Judges. They knew nothing of it and hand never heard of it in all probability. Thus the history of the country proves the charge as to them. As to Mr. Pierce, his character as a man of integrity and honor is enough to protect him from the charge. [Laughter]; As to myself, I pronounce the charge an infamous lie, wherever and by whomsoever made. I am willing that Mr. Lincoln should rake up every act I have ever done -- every report I have ever made; every speech I have ever delivered, and criticise them. But when he charges a corrupt conspiracy for the purpose of subverting the Constitution, I brand it as it deserves, and as I believe the history of the country proves it to be, false. But now he rakes up the Washington Union, because I made a speech against that paper. My speech against it was made simply because it advocated a doctrine revolutionary, by saying that the free States had not a right to prohibit slavery in their limits. Because I made that charge Mr. Lincoln says it was a charge against Mr. Buchanan. Suppose it was. Is Mr. Lincoln his peculiar defender? Is he in alliance with the Federal Administration that he is bound to defend it against any attack I have made? I understand that the Washington Union, under the control of that most corrupt of all corrupt men, Cornelius Wendell, is advocating Lincoln's claims to the United States Senatorship. By the last Republican House of Representative he was made the printer for the House, and he took the money he made by printing, and with it brought the Washington Union, and even in the name of the Democratic party, he is advocating Mr. Lincoln's claims for the Senatorship, while Mr. Lincoln considers any attack on Wendell and his corrupt gang as an attack upon him personally. It only proves what I have charged, that there is an alliance between the Black Republicans and the Presidential aspirants out of the State to break me down at home. Mr. Lincoln is bound to come to the rescue. In that speech discussing the Washington Union, I made the charge distinctly against the Union, and the Union alone. I did not go beyond that. If I ever have occasion to attack the President of the United States, I will do it in a way that will not be misunderstood; When I differed with the President, I spoke out that you all heard me, When that one question passed away and resulted in the triumph of my principles, by allowing the people to do as they pleased, there was an end to that controversy. Whenever the great principles of self-government -- the right of the people to make their own Constitution, and come into the Union with slavery or without it, as they see proper, shall again arise, you will find me standing firm in defense of that principle, and fighting whoever fights that principle. If Mr. Buchanan then stands, as I doubt not he will, by the recommendation in his message -- by the principle that hereafter all Constitutions are to be submitted to the people before admission into the Union, you will find me standing by him firmly, shoulder to shoulder, in wants to avoid a distinct avowal of opinion in order to elect himself to the Senate. [Applause.]