Speech of — Hon. Richard Yates, — Delivered at The Republican Ratification Meeting, of The Citizens of Sangamon County, in The Hall of The House of Representatives, — Springfield, June 7th, 1860.
Hon. Richard Yates, Republican candidate for Governor, on being introduced to the audience by the chairman, Capt. Jas. N. Brown, was received with a cheer that made the whole State House ring. He spoke at first with difficulty and in a very moderate tone, evidently from the effect of previous labor on the stump. As he warmed, however, his voice swelled to its usual full, sonorous tone, and he proceeded with his characteristic vigor.
He spoke as follows:
My Fellow Citizens: Your worthy chairman, Capt. Brown, on taking his seat, said in eloquent language, this is a proud day for old Sangamon. And is it not a proud day, a glorious day, a day of cheering, a source of unbounded delight to every citizen of old Sangamon. ["Yes," "yes."] Yes, fellow citizens, you are highly honored, for Springfield, the county seat of old Sangamon, is the home of the next President of the United States. [Applause and cries of "good," "good."]
Fellow citizens, it is not here alone, but through the length and breadth of the State of Illinois, from the pure waters of the Wabash, to the banks of the Mississippi — from Cairo to Dunleith, the same interest and the same enthusiasm, is to be met, which I see manifested here to-day. It was but Saturday that we had as large or larger crowd than this at Lincoln, in Logan county. It was but yesterday that the people of Macoupin turned out by thousands at Carlinville. We can speak fellow citizens to the people by the acre, but when we have to speak to them by the five and ten acres, the voice falters and fails.
I understand, as your chairman has said, that the object of this large gathering of the people of Sangamon and the adjoining counties, so far as they are present, is to ratify the nominations made at the National Republican Convention at Chicago, and the platform there adopted. I give you joy my fellow citizens — I congratulate you my friends, of all political parties — Democrat, as well as Whig or Republican, upon the fact that that convention has presented to you a platform, patriotic, conservative, national, broad enough for all good men to stand upon, in every section of this great Union — North and South, East and West; and fellow citizens, I have not the least doubt that that platform of principles will receive the triumphant vindication of the American people. [Applause.]
I rejoice also fellow citizens, that that Convention has presented to you a ticket worthy of your entire, undivided support. They have presented to you, as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States a man whom you know personally, know to be an honest man, an incorruptible patriot, a man whose broad and statesman-like views, noble character and high abilities, have enabled him to receive this nomination in preference to some of the greatest statesmen of this nation, or any other nation; and fellow citizens, from the manifestations of public approbation which are everywhere made throughout the length and breadth of this land, I have no hesitation in saying that the candidates there nominated will be gloriously, triumphantly elected [great enthusiasm, and cries of "Hurrah for Old Abe."] In fact, fellow citizens, when to-day I had the honor in this hall of taking the hand of Abraham Lincoln, I felt confident, yes, perfectly sure that I was shaking the hand of the next President of the United States, [loud applause,] and not only that, ladies, and gentlemen, but I somehow or other had the feeling that honest Old Abe had the honor of shaking the hand of the next Governor of Illinois, [cheers and laughter.]
Now, fellow citizens, it may strike you as rather a strange matter that the people of so great a nation as this should come to Illinois for its President — that the mighty Republican party should look to this far-away Prairie State for its standard bearer in such a momentous contest. If you are surprised at this — if you are surprised to find such a man in your very midst, it is because you have been in the habit of looking
2at him as men look at mountains who live close at their bases, losing sight of their grand outline, unaware of the majestic pile that towers almost over-head, while those at a distance measure all its great proportions with just admiration. We do not reflect that no splendor of eloquence, no power of argument, no combination of shining qualities can make a man more than a man, and we expect to find these qualities only in a sort of superior being to ourselves. yet, I say here to-day, that I have heard the great men of this nation north and south, east and west, for four consecutive years in the Hall of the House of Representatives, and in the Senate of the United States — I have heard the Stephens and Toombs of the South, the Sewards, Chases and Corwins of the North — I have heard the most renowned orators on the floor of the Senate and House daily for years; and I say here to-day, that for clearness of statement, for penetration of thought, for power of irresistible logic, for broad comprehensive, statesman-like views, for exalted purity of private and public character, your own Abraham Lincoln is the clearest, noblest, purest and best of them all. [Great and prolonged applause.] In the history of his life — in all the elements which inspire with enthusiasm the hearts of the masses of mankind and rouse the millions to action, I stand up here to-day in this the Capitol of the State and in the presence of my countrymen to say that the name of Abraham Lincoln is this day and hour the mightiest name upon the continent of North America. [Prolonged cheers.]
We have not come here, fellow citizens, to rejoice over our Democratic friends, because that party is disbanded, because it is belligerent, because it has broken up at Charleston and gone into liquidation [laughter]; and because we are a harmonious, united and powerful party marching onwards with our banners full high advanced to glorious triumph — not at all. We come to speak to all American citizens, whatever may have been their political antecedents, to present to them the platform of our principles; we come to argue, to reason with them to-day in the spirit of kindness and conciliation; to say to them that we believe freedom is better than slavery, that free territory is better than slave territory; we come to present to them our views and plans and arguments in favor of free homesteads upon our broad public domain; we come to utter our voice for the Pacific Railroad — that great continental thoroughfare between the Atlantic seaboard and the Pacific Ocean; we come, too, heart and hand in favor of that argument embraced in our platform for the preservation forever of the union of these States; we come to show them that the party to which they have belonged, the Democratic party, has been rent in twain by the irrepressible conflict of Northern and Southern opinions — that both the Northern and the Southern wings of that party entertain sentiments hostile to the best interests of our country, and destructive of those glorious free institutions which have been transmitted as a priceless legacy by our fathers to us their children. [Applause.]
Now, the only element of antagonism and discord among us, from which any danger has been apprehended to our free institutions in this country, is this very element and question of slavery. That question is no respecter of persons, or organizations, political, civil, moral or religious. It laid its iron grasp upon one of the most extensive and powerful of the religious denominations of this country, and rent it in twain, running a Mason and Dixon's line between brethren and christians. In 1854 it laid its mighty hand upon that once powerful political organization, the old Whig party, and by the attempt to repeal the time-honored Missouri Compromise, that party which had stood the shock of so many defeats and the wear of so many years uninjured, was rent asunder and destroyed. And recently in the Democratic Convention at Charleston, the same irresistible hand was put forth, the same element of discord appeared, and it rent violently in twain that once proud, powerful and victorious party, scattering it into fragments which can never, never again be re-united — and so the Democratic party passed away with a great noise. [Great applause and laughter.]
Now, if time permitted, and I had strength of voice and body, I would attempt to present briefly the present position of that party, and their guiding principles, so far as they have any principles; and I would compare them with the principles of the Republican party, that we might see the relative positions of the two great parties that are now presenting their candidates for election in November, 1860. — In speaking of the Democratic party and its principles, I wish it most distinctly to be understood, that I do not refer to that glorious old Democratic party of which General Jackson was the war-horse and chieftain — that old party, whose motto was "Equal Rights and Universal Freedom," [applause] upon whose banner was inscribed the flaming words of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity;" whose triumphal march to power was over the wrecks of prostrated banks, chartered monopolies and favored classes, whose devotion to the Union was so great as to be sealed by the great oath of their chieftain, "this Union must and shall be preserved." [Renewed applause.] Although a Whig, I regarded that party as earnest, firm, consistent, patriotic, never giving an inch, never giving ground even to John C. Calhoun, or to any of the pro-slavery nullifiers and disunionists, north or south.
But, fellow-citizens, with General Jackson died that Democratic party, and since his departure from the seat of power, it has descended through the Van Burens, and Pierces, and Buchanans, until now it is proposed to place the scepter of presidential power in the hands of
3mere political dwarfs. [Cheers and laughter.] And the principles of that party — good heavens! what mortal man shall now attempt to describe the principles of the Democratic party of 1860! [Renewed laughter.] The confusion around the tower of Babel affords but a feeble illustration of the confusion worse confounded that reigns in the piebald and ring-streaked and striped, the diverse and conflicting; the slave-driving and polygamy-nursing, the died-in-the-wool and sold-to-the-cotton, Locofoco party. [Roars of laughter and cheers.]
Why, recently, after a great flourish of trumpets — after traveling many hundreds of miles, by land and by sea, away down to Charleston — after a convocation of the sachems or wise men of the party, and an anxious deliberation of ten days to find out their principles and throw them into a platform which might be adopted by the party, they failed to find out what is the true Democracy, and came away unable to tell what they were there for! Why, the Secretary of this meeting, or any intelligent Republican farmer or mechanic who hears me, could write out a platform of Republican principles which might be adopted by a Republican National Convention; because Republican principles are clearly defined, and thoroughly understood.
But fellow citizens, all these sachems of the Democratic party, after trying desperately for ten days to discover what they were there for, what were the real Democratic principles, had at last to adjourn without candidate or platform. — They have no platform and no candidate; or we may say they have two platforms and a dozen candidates, or half a dozen candidates with as many platforms. I confess I do not know how to fix it. Modern Democracy is a problem and I leave you to fix it for yourselves [laughter.]
They were not only divided between the north and the South, but there were a variety of divisions. In the first place, there was the party in favor of the Cincinnati platform with the construction of Squatter Sovereignty or Popular Sovereignty, or whatever name you may call it; that meant, leave the nigger to the people. — That was the Cincinnati platform. Another division were in favor of the Cincinnati platform and the Dred Scott Decision; that was a little more nigger; that is to say they were in favor of the Cincinnati platform which said the people of a territory might regulate the question of slavery for themselves, and also in favor of the Dred Scott Decision which declared that they should not regulate it for themselves; which said that no power is conferred by the Constitution of the United States upon Congress, nor is there power in a Territorial Legislature to prohibit or to establish slavery. This you will perceive was a little more nigger [laughter.]
Then there was a third party, which was not only in favor of the Cincinnati platform and the Dred Scott Decision, but also in favor of the revival of the African slave trade and a congressional slave code for the territories; for the acquisition of Cuba, Northern Mexico, Central America, and the unlimited recognition and expansion of slavery wherever the American flag floated or could ever float, either upon land or sea. This party, as I understand it, was all nigger. [Great cheers and laughter.] At all events they spoke about nothing else. They said nothing about free homesteads for the people — or any other similar branches of legislation. The only discussion — at least the main discussion by this great party in council was the negro question.
But this is not the only difficulty. That party is not only divided into a Northern and a Southern wing; but we cannot find a single member of the Northern Democratic party who agrees with himself. Senator Douglas at Freeport tells us that slavery cannot exist in any territory or place until it is established by local law; yet, shortly afterwards, he tells the people of New Orleans substantially, that the slaveholder may take his slaves into any territory of the United States, just as he may take his horse or any other article of property, in defiance of any law either by the Territorial Legislature or by Congress. In his famous speech to the Grand Jury at Springfield, he says he is in favor of the Dred Scott decision — that the Supreme Court of the United States had the whole question of slavery before them and examined it in all its parts. He approves of that decision he says; yet by that decision the slaveholder may take his slave there and hold him in the territory without any power on the part of the people, or of Congress, to prohibit him. But, at Freeport he says that the people of the territories may prohibit slavery by unfriendly legislation. That is to say, they may set aside the Dred Scott decision; and a man who is sworn to support the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Dred Scott decision, which the Democratic faith regards as equally binding with the Constitution, and a part of it; and having sworn this support, may, nevertheless, violate the Constitution, disregard his oath, and by acts of unfriendly legislation, passed by a territorial Legislature, prohibit slavery in the territory. [Applause.]
But, there is another theory which is now dead. Popular Sovereignty died its death at Charleston! What was this popular sovereignty? We all recollect a certain clause interpolated into the Kansas-Nebraska bill to this effect: that the Missouri Compromise being inconsistent with the compromise measures of 1850 therefore the people of a territory are left perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way — does it stop there? No. It proceeds: "Subject to the Constitution of the United States."
Now, gentlemen, I do not suppose that there is anybody opposed to genuine Popular Sovereignty fairly carried out and applied. We have
4had it in Illinois. We have had and acted upon it, ever since our fathers fought the Revolution. It is no new idea. But according to this interpolation in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, the people were to be left perfectly free to regulate their domestic matters in their own way — how? "Subject to the Constitution of the United States."
Have any of you read the recent speech of Senator Benjamin on this subject, wherein he says the sole difficulty which has arisen in the Charleston Convention, originated in the discussion of this amendment when it was introduced in the Kansas Nebraska Bill. He says the same difficulty arose then; and that is the reason why the words, "Subject to the Constitution of the United States," were put in that bill — "That the people of the territories should be left perfectly free to regulate their own matters in their own way, subject to the Constitution of the United States." Now, the South contended that the Constitution of the United States, by its own vigor and by its own force, carried slavery into the territories in defiance of any power on the part of the territorial government or Congress to prohibit slavery. — On the other hand the friends of the Cincinnati platform in the North contended that the people of a territory had the power to decide the question of Slavery for themselves in their own way.
Mr. Benjamin says, substantially, they had a secret caucus in the Senate Chamber, at which Mr. Douglas was present, and in which they agreed that the North might take its view of the Cincinnati platform, and the South its view of the platform, until the Supreme Court should decide the question of whether the Northern or Southern view was right. But I ask you, my fellow citizens of the Democratic party, if Senator Douglas and his allies, when they returned home, told you of this bargain? Did they tell you, when they said you who lived in Illinois and desired to remove to Kansas, had as much sense there as here, and could regulate and control your matters in Kansas as well as in Illinois, should you see fit to go there? Did he then tell you that a bargain had been made by which it was agreed that this whole matter was yet to be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, as to whether the people of a territory had the right to regulate this question in their own way? Did he tell you that when they inserted that clause, "subject to the Constitution of the United States," the Supreme Court was yet to put its construction upon these words? And did he tell you that there was a possibility that the Supreme Court might decide that the slaveholder could take his slave into the free territories of the United States as any other property, without any power on the part of Congress or the people of the territory to abolish it? Now, the bargain was made, signed, sealed and delivered by and between the Northern and Southern members of the Democratic party, by which it was to be left to the Supreme Court to decide whether the people of a territory had a right to decide the question of slavery in their own way. If Mr. Douglas and his adherents had spoken truly when they returned home, they would have said: "We have submitted this question to the Supreme Court. We do not know whether the people of a territory have a right to decide this question in their own way; but is an agreed case, given to the Supreme Court. We have submitted it entirely to them, and we must tell you, Democrats, that we don't know whether the people of a territory have a right to prohibit slavery there or not. We do not know what construction the Supreme Court of the United States will put upon that clause in the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, ‘subject to the Constitution of the United States.’"
That decision soon came around. It was a part of the programme arranged by Buchanan, and the rest of the pro-slavery extensionists, that it should come around. Then the Supreme Court decided that every inch of American Territory over which Congress had, from the foundation of the Government, exercised unrestricted control, might now be taken and held by the slave-holders for their slaves, in defiance of the power of Congress, or any other power, to prohibit slavery in these Territories. Here we see was the great fraud in this matter. We told you that there would be no Popular Sovereignty, that the people were deprived of the power to elect their Governor and Judges, and the power being left in the hands of the President to appoint them, this Governor would at the behest of a pro-slavery President, veto any act passed by a Territorial Legislature, and the people after all could not regulate it in their own way.
Mr. Douglas was the herald, as he said, of a new principle; he was to give to the world a grand panoramic exhibition of the beauties and virtues of Popular Sovereignty; and Kansas was to be the theatre upon which the great exhibition was to take place. In the Congress of 1854 I heard Col. Benton, then full of years and full of honors, an old man and a sagacious statesman utter both the words of admonition and prophecy. He said: "Better keep the power in Congress than to leave it a bone of contention to the people of the Territory of Kansas for them to quarrel over, and to divide the whole country into two sections, arrayed against each other like two hostile armies on the field of battle." But no, the cry was "Popular Sovereignty," let the people govern themselves in their own way.
And now, after all that has passed, we have been, fellow-citizens, that there has been less of that article of Popular Sovereignty in Kansas than upon any other foot of the Territory of the United States. ["That's so," and applause.] — We, in Illinois, originally had this grand old Ordinance of '87 — a Missouri Restriction older than the Constitution, and we never dreamed that we had been deprived by that restriction of the blessings of Popular Sovereignty, Poor fools! — We thought we were enjoying all the blessings of governing ourselves in our own way — the largest Popular Sovereignty, until Stephen A. Douglas and his allies arose in Congress to display this new and sovereign remedy for imaginary ills, called Popular Sovereignty. But bitter experience in Kansas has proved it to be a humbug and a cheat upon the people. — The North discovered it long ago, and at last the South have got their eyes wide open to it. And Popular Sovereignty, the fair and promising child, drew his last breath at Charleston, and was with due ceremony buried by Jeff. Davis and his associate pro-slavery Senators in the South, and his Northern doughface allies in the North in the vote taken in the Senate on the resolutions of the Charleston Convention the other day. Unfriendly Legislation, that poor child, born at Freeport under the faithful application of the spurs of Old Abe, sickened and died at Charleston. We shall never hear of him again —
Nor wife nor sacred home!" [Much Laughter.]
The truth is that the day Popular Sovereignty was born he had in him the disease that killed him, because "the people were to rule subject to the Constitution," which clause was to mean, "No! they shouldn't rule!" Popular Sovereignty, Unfriendly Legislation, Dred Scott and the Democratic party, all went into liquidation at Charleston, and Douglas died with them. ["Good," "good," and applause.]
The only Territory which I know of where they have had a fair specimen of Popular Sovereignty is in that remarkable Territory of Utah. [Laughter.] There, I believe, they have had things in their own way. The Saints have had everything just as they wanted it; Congress has not raised a hand to interfere with their abominations. I understand that a bill to abolish polygamy has been voted against by your Democratic representatives, and voted down by Democratic votes in Congress, in order that the Saints might have it all their own way on this vexatious question of polygamy — "subject to the Constitution of the United States." [Laughter.]
There can be no question — no Democrat even will have the hardihood to deny that there is not a solitary member of the United States Senate, with one or perhaps two exceptions, who has not condemned it, and constantly voted against this sound doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, which has been contended for by Mr. Douglas and his Democratic party. It has destroyed the power of your party in the North. Where now are your Democratic Governors and Members of Congress? Where is there a solitary free State in this broad Union that you honestly expect to carry for your candidate for President in 1860? ["Not one."] And all this has been produced by the promulgation of this greatest cheat, and humbug of the age, devised by a mushroom race of modern politicians to cheat and swindle the people, and to secure elevation to power. Can that party be now re-united? I candidly ask the members of the Democratic party, can your party be re-united? Where is the basis upon which it is to be done? What are the principles? Can you tell me to-day what are your principles, and what are the principles upon which all these belligerent elements can be re-united? It has been disbanded and broken up at Charleston. It died
5after a ten days struggle of Popular Sovereignty and unfriendly legislation. How can Judge Douglas now receive their nomination? If he holds to Popular Sovereignty, he has no party in the South, where they have unanimously condemned it. If he favors the doctrine laid down by the southern members of the Charleston Convention, and accepts a nomination on that platform, he is a traitor to his Democratic friends in the North, and every principle of honesty and right. I cannot see how the Little Giant can crawl out at that hole. [Laughter.] As Capt. Brown said, I hardly ever tell an anecdote, but let me allude to one by way of illustration — that of the old lady riding along Broadway in the omnibus. She observed an impatient young man, who had arrived to where he wanted to stop, jerking violently at the strap attached to the driver's arm. The first pull not being effectual he gave another jerk, and then another still more violent. The old lady could stand it no longer, and she said mildly but firmly, "My son, I don't think you can do that." "Do what?" said the young fellow. "I don't think you can pull that driver through that little hole." [Uproarious laughter and applause.] So with Judge Douglas, trying to get through between Popular Sovereignty and Congressional Protection, and reconcile both. I don't see how he can get out at such a little hole. [Renewed laughter.] I cannot see how he can with any consistency, go through a Democratic Convention.
But, say the enemy, our party is a sectional party. I cannot say so much of them, for heaven knows, they have not got a section. [Laughter and applause.] Their once proud boast has become literally true — they know no North, no South, no East, no West — no any place. [Roars of laughter and cheers.] They charge us with sectionalism, because we have no representatives from the slave States. What is the reason we are not represented in the slave States? Why, I have a letter in my pocket from a gentleman in Louisiana, saying, that the platform adopted at Chicago, and the nomination of Abraham Lincoln is received with delight by many men in the southern States. [Great applause.] They expect to see William H. Seward nominated. So did the Democrats; and if we had been making a nomination to suit the Democrats, we should have nominated him. Why, he narrowly escaped a nomination at Charleston. The delegates to that Convention admired pluck and vigor, and liked better to have a straight forward, fearless man like Seward, better than a politician ready to ride every hobby, cheat every fiend, and prove himself on all sides of all questions at once. [Loud cheers.] Old Josh Giddlings told me at Chicago, that he didn't feel entirely safe himself; he was afraid he might get that Charleston nomination. [Great laughter and applause.]
To return — if we are a sectional party, what is the reason? It is because our principles are never read or understood at the south; because our Republican papers are never received there, and our speakers never heard. Only Democratic papers that vilify us, and Democratic speakers who misrepresent and slander us have a voice there. That is the reason — the only reason why we have no organized and powerful party in every southern State.
But this state of affairs is fast changing. What have I to say now? The people of the south have at last begun to understand the aims of the Republican party, and here at Chicago, at the great Convention, I am glad to tell you, we were met by delegates representing six of the slave States of this Union [applause,] besides all the free States. There was glorious old Kentucky [applause,] and Maryland and Virginia and other slave States there, [loud cheers,] ready to unite with us in solid phalanx and testify their opposition to the extension of slavery, and in proclaiming with bold voices and brave hearts an undying fealty to the glorious Union of these States. [Great enthusiasm.]
Mr. Douglas says, in one of his late speeches, that the teachings of the Republican party, as explained in their platforms, the speeches of their leaders both in and out of Congress, and the books and pamphlets of their writers and thinkers, have led to the commission of the Harper's Ferry crime in Virginia; and good, honest, quiet men, Whigs and Democrats, have been frightened by the bugbear that the Republicans were an abolition party, in favor of interfering with slavery in the Southern States. Yes, a distinguished Democratic Senator from the United States (Mr. Douglas) says that the Harper's Ferry crime is the direct, inevitable and necessary result of the teachings of the Republican party, and that large and suitable cells ought to be selected and prepared, in which these Republicans might spend the balance of their miserable lives for their warfare against the institutions of the slave States. This would be a very nice way for them to beat Lincoln and the two millions of Republicans whose standard-bearer he is to-day — to have their free utterances choked out and crushed, and their free limbs confined in dungeons, because they dare stand fast by the principles of the fathers of the Republic and the great doctrines of freedom, humanity and equal rights, [great applause.] This would be a new expedient, and I am inclined to think it is the only way they can beat the Republicans again, [laughter.] Why, what are the principles of the Republican party? When a man calls me an abolitionist, and my party a sectional party — in favor of a warfare against the institutions of the South, I take out the platform adopted at Chicago and ask him to show me where and in what particular that platform is sectional — where it is said that we are abolitionists, and in favor of a warfare against the institutions of the slave States. There is the argument. Challenge a Democrat to the task, and he cannot do it. Why, my fellow citizens, there is a plank in that platform declaring expressly that the people of the free States shall not interfere with the people of the slave States. And this was the way this government was originally framed. When our fathers came to erect this glorious fabric, to frame this vast and complicated government, they turned over the question of slavery and every other domestic institution to the people of the States, to be regulated by the people in their unrestricted sovereignty; but as to the territory over which the whole people or the federal government had undoubted control and power to legislate, they solemnly declared, in a memorable ordinance, that the clank of no slave's chain should ever be heard there. [applause.]
Take now the doctrine of "the irrepressible conflict." Mr. Seward did say, we are in the midst of an irrepressible conflict; it is a war of civilizations; a struggle of freedom against slavery. He said all that, and I will say, that is the truth. Every word he then said is true to-day; but recollect he then said, we propose not to interfere with slavery in the States, but to leave the questions to the people of the States to regulate that whole matter for themselves, as they are now constituted. If any one will read Mr. Seward's speech at Rochester, or Mr. Lincoln's celebrated speech made in this hall on that subject, he will find that this very view has been contended for from first to last by the Republican party.
But, fellow citizens, what did bring about the Harper's Ferry crime? I think I can show you in few words. In 1854, when Mr. Douglas introduced his bill to repeal the Missouri Compromise, commenced that fearful agitation which has now lashed the popular mind in this whole country into uncontrollable fury. Then began that tempest of the political elements which we see raging around us to-day. It is not so? ["Yes," "yes."] We were then in the midst of an era of good feeling; all parties were at peace on this great question. I was myself a member of Congress at that time, and I know that no word of contention was to be heard in either of the great parties. Both the great political organizations, comprising within their numbers the whole American people, had solemnly declared in National Convention that the compromise measures of 1850, were to be a "finality." Well do I remember that most magnificent pageant that I ever beheld, or that man ever beheld, when General Pierce, having been ejected by the American people over one of the noblest and most gallant men in the world, was borne in triumphant march, amid the uncontrollable enthusiasm of thousands of American citizens, along Pennsylvania Avenue to the steps of the Capitol, and there, having been proclaimed President of this great, free, enlightened and happy Republic, promised that the compromises of 1850, were to be regarded as "a finality," and the country should suffer no further shock from the agitation of the slavery question during his official term. And on the fourth day of January, 1854, Senator Douglas, in reporting back the Kansas and Nebraska Bills says distinctly that it would be a departure from the course pursued, and the policy indicated in the memorable acts of 1850, to repeal the Missouri Compromise, for the reason that Congress in these acts did not repeal the old Mexican law prohibiting slavery in New Mexico; and yet in nineteen days after that, under the pro-slavery lash of Senator Dixon, of Kentucky, and Vice President Atchison of Missouri, he introduced his amendment repealing the old Missouri Compromise, which he himself had said was "canonized in the hearts of the American people, and which no ruthless hand would ever dare to disturb." Yes, you recollect, citizens of Sangamon, he said that in this very house in 1849. In 1850 and 1851 he said that the Missouri Compromise was passed by a majority of Southern votes, and was to be regarded as an amicable settlement of the whole question. But now in 1854, he succumbed to pro-slavery dictation and introduced his bill for the repeal of that sacred Compromise.
The following extracts from a speech delivered in the United States House of Representatives, by one of the humblest members of that body, myself, will show that the effects of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise were foreseen, and that the fearful agitation which has followed was plainly foretold, and that what was then mere prediction is now history:
"What member of the present Congress will ever forget the delightful auspices under which we met? We met each other,
6not as northern or southern men, but as Americans, representing a common brotherhood — the people of the sovereign States. As such we entered upon the duties before us. All the great objects of national concern were engaging our attention; and Congress was receiving from the press throughout the country the high laudation that this was to be a business session. There were Abolitionists here, but they said not a word. It was reserved for the Senator of a free State to thrust the firebrands of discord into our peaceful councils; to pick afresh the bleeding wounds which had been so happily healed; to open wide the sluices of agitation, and to revive a fearful war of sectional strife, so dangerous to our Union and peace, and which God alone can tell when or where or how, it is to be terminate." * * * * * * *
"This will be no party measure. The great enormity of its introduction into our national councils is, that it tends to make two parties, divided not as heretofore, but by geographical lines. A northern party and a southern party. This is the most fearful aspect of the case. This is what Washington, in his farewell address, warned his countrymen to guard against and discountenance. Who can forsee the malignity and bitterness of the strife which is to ensue? Who can fortell its termination?"
What is that history? Remember, I am now inquiring what were the teachings, which led to the Harper's Ferry crime? I charge upon Stephen A. Douglas and his coadjutors the crime of arousing that agitation which led directly to the commission of those shocking barbarities, both in Kansas and Virginia; slurring with a dark blot the pages of our history and disgraceful to the age in which we live. If I had a jury of twelve honest, intelligent men, who would hear the testimony and argument in the case, I would convict the reckless disturbers of the Missouri Compromise as the real authors of the agitation which produced the Harper's Ferry crime, and that to them ought to be assigned the deepest and darkest "cells in which to spend their miserable lives as a punishment for their crimes against the peace of society."
You have heard the indictment. Run hastily over the chain of testimony. The Missouri Compromise is repealed, and the territory opened to the incursion of slavery. In a very short time, Vice President Atchison resigned his seat as Speaker of the Senate and went home to assist in the organization of the blue lodges, and head the slave state army in their invasion of Kansas; followed up by the robbery of the Arsenal at Liberty, Missouri, of one thousand stand of arms; the over-running of that fair and peaceful territory by an armed force, bearing banners and all the munitions of war; the destruction of a printing press; the seizure and stuffing of the ballot boxes; the arsons and crimes, and murders, shocking in the sight of heaven and earth, which were perpetrated by that horde of ruffians; the dragging of the body of the young and gallant Brown along the public highway, and then throwing it all bleeding and ghostly pale in death into the arms of his fainting wife; next and last in the series, the maddened revenge of old John Brown, at Harper's Ferry. Here, my fellow citizens, we have a chain of testimony in which no link is wanting by which to trace the present trouble and agitation, and the troubles of the past five years clearly and unmistakably to that act of mad ambition — the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. [Prolonged applause.]
Now, having spoken of the policy and the principles of the Democratic party, so far as we have been made to find any principles, suppose I address myself in a few words to the principles and course of another party which once existed — the old Whig party, as they are called — "the Fillmore men," as your chairman has termed them. In standing here as I do to-day, I understand myself, upon this slavery question, to be following exactly in the footsteps of the immortal Henry Clay. [Great cheering.] I know that the men who slandered him while living, who dogged his track with insatiable malignity throughout his great and patriotic career, who never failed to denounce him as a malefactor, who never tired with heaping abuse upon his fame, are now calling on you old Henry Clay Whigs to come forward and support Democratic slavery extensions and all the principles of this corrupt party. But let me say, they hold no one principle in common with that great and illustrious patriot, while they distort every act of his life, and every utterance of his lips. They deny that Congress has the power to regulate slavery in the Territories. Henry Clay contended for that doctrine, to the day of his death. In his speeches in favor of the Compromises of 1850, he took decided ground in favor of the power of Congress to prohibit slavery in all the territories of the United States; while this modern Democratic party say that slavery may exist without local law establishing it, — that the Constitution of the United States, of its own force and vigor, can carry slavery into every territory belonging to the federal government. Mr. Clay said that "you could not lay your finger upon any clause of the Constitution which conveys the right or the power to carry slaves from one of the States of the Union, to any territory of the United States." He said further, "If slaves are voluntarily carried into such a jurisdiction, (where slavery does not exist,) their chains instantly drop off, and they become free, emancipated, liberated from their bondage." And while by removing the Missouri Compromise, and contending for the dictum of the Dred Scott decision, they are in favor of the extension of slavery throughout all possessions where the national flag floats, Mr. Clay uttered those memorable words, (and you will all recollect that when Mr. Clay was going to make an emphatic declaration, he would precede it with some impressive words.) Mr. Clay declared, "Coming as I do from a slave State, I owe it to myself, I owe it to my country, I owe it to truth and justice to say that while the vital current shall run through these veins, I will never, never, NEVER, by word or deed, by act or will, consent that one rood of free territory shall be given over to the everlasting curse of human bondage. [Enthusiastic and long continued applause.]
Such was the noble language of Henry Clay. And now, while they tear down the Compromise Measures of 1850, and open afresh those bleeding wounds which Clay and Webster and Cass had so happily healed; while they lay their sacrilegious hands upon the Missouri Compromise, that his own hands had made, they come forward and claim, with amazing effrontery, to be the special heirs of Henry Clay! [applause.] Fellow citizens, my blood courses indignantly through my veins, when I see these life-long slanderers of this great man attempting to fasten upon him principles which he abhorred and condemned in all the acts of his illustrious life.
I am myself a Kentuckian. I knew Mr. Clay, and supported him with enthusiastic devotion from my boyhood to the day of his death; and well do I recollect how, at the age of fourteen years, I walked twelve miles through the thinly inhabited country to hear the voice of that illustrious statesman; and I recollect how, as I beheld that mighty concourse of freemen in Hamilton, Ohio, how they were swayed by his oratory as trees are swayed by the storm; I recollect, as was once said of another, how my eye kindled and my heart warmed, as I beheld his white plume in the thickest of the fight, the banner of the Union waving over his head and the flaming cimetar of the Constitution in his hand, [great applause.] And now, fellow citizens, the great Kentuckian is gone;
No sound shall awake him to glory again."
He has left small men and small politicians enough to stir up the muddy pools of contention and strife, and foment agitation and disunion throughout the land; but where now is the Great Pacificator? Who is to stand upon the deck of that noble old ship, the Constitution, and guide her over the dashing billows of political strife, and spread our starry flag to the winds of Heaven? Friends and supporters of Henry Clay, if you are true to his principles, it is all we ask — it is all the Republicans ask. He said Congress had power over slavery in the territories; he said that slavery could go nowhere into free territory except by local law; and he said you could not lay your finger upon any clause in the Constitution of the United States which authorized the slaveholder to take his slave from slave into free territory. He was the chief supporter of the Missouri Compromise. I ask you only to be true to the principles of Henry Clay — be true and firm, like Henry Clay, for he was a man, who, although charged with being an Abolitionist, never quailed. Not the threats of foes, nor the blandishments of power, nor the spoils of office could ever seduce his unbending spirit to desert a principle or abandon a friend. And I verily believe the man who now would pretend to be a Democrat, upon the plea that he was a Henry Clay Whig, is untrue to the glorious name and memory of Clay — disgraces his own manhood and the noble nature with which God Almighty has endowed him. [Great and prolonged applause.]
I come now to consider the principles of the Republican party, and here I will not detain you long. The great idea and basis of the Republican party, as I understand it, is free labor. It is all in that word, to elevate, to dignify, to advance, to reward, to ennoble labor — to make labor honorable is the object, end and aim of the Republican party. Fellow citizens, labor is the foundation of all our prosperity — every blow of honest labor is a part of our national wealth; and he is no statesman who does not give to labor its highest rewards — who does not open to it the broadest fields — who does not make labor as honorable as he possibly can.
Thirty-five years ago, and this beautiful Illinois of ours — now such a bright Eden for us — such a glorious heritage for our children — was in the possession of Black Hawk, Keokuk, Shabonee, and their wild warrior tribes. But, what a change! Look at our mighty cities, magnificent with the temples of art, and the crowded thoroughfares of commerce — look at these vast sunny prairies, blooming with orchards, and gardens, and broad green fields. Behold the beautiful homes, scattered thickly all over the country — the manufacturing establishments
7on your rivers — the long trains of cars, trooping in procession along your railroads — the splendid steamers which ply day by day along your magnificent streams, carrying the products of your labor, and creating a commerce whose influence extends throughout the world. [Tremendous applause.]
And what produces all this wealth and prosperity? Labor, hard handed labor — the labor of millions of patient hands — the humblest as well as the most exalted.
Now the question comes, how shall we advance this labor? As presented in our politics, the question is, whether unpaid, unwilling slave labor is better than voluntary, intelligent, free paid labor? I was not so young when I left Kentucky, but that I recollect the time when a poor man toiled all day, with a hod upon his shoulder, up the scaffold of a rich man's edifice for three shillings a day, because a slave could be hired for seventy-five dollars a year. Do you recollect what Senator Hammond said of the free white population of South Carolina? That a majority of that unhappy class subsisted by hunting and fishing, and trading with the negroes for what they were stealing from their masters and they cannot live and prosper in competition with unpaid slave labor. But I will not dwell upon this point.
How shall we advance this labor? In the first place, we have, as a part of our platform, a tariff resolution. We occupy precisely the same position upon this question as was finally occupied by both the Democratic and Whig parties. — Jackson, as you all recollect, was for a revenue tariff, as opposed to protection. Clay and his disciples were in favor of a protective tariff, and believed in protection as a distinct political principle. A long, hard, memorable battle was fought between these old parties until the compromise tariff bill of 1832 was agreed upon, and the principle was finally recognized by all parties, I believe, that we should have a revenue tariff — thus fulfilling Mr. Jackson's notion, with incidental protection, which secured Mr. Clay's object, that is, specific duties as contradistinguished from ad valorem duties, discriminating in favor of articles the growth and manufacture of our own country. We propose to elevate labor by these principles; by upturning the concealed riches of the earth; by opening the beds of iron that rest in our mountains; by affording in every way in which we can, a better market for farmers and mechanics. But you are familiar with this subject, and I cannot dwell longer upon it.
Another portion of our platform is in favor of a free homestead upon the public lands to any actual settler, whether an American born citizen or one of the poor wanderers from foreign lands who may come upon this soil and settle, improve and occupy it for a limited period. Fellow citizens, I have always rejoiced in my vote against the Kansas-Nebraska bill; and I am glad now to see that the universal sentiment of this country is now coming up to sustain the man who was broken down in this district upon that issue. [Applause.] I rejoice not so much in that, however, as I rejoice in the humble but earnest efforts I made in Congress by my voice and vote in favor of a free homestead to every free American citizen who would go there and occupy the soil. [Hearty applause.] Look at this question for a moment.
I recollect, in 1853, of going to the Land Office at Danville, and there I found a man who, as the agent of foreign capitalists, had secured 24,000 acres of land at the land warrant price of one dollar and a quarter per acre. I staid there a few days, and in that time there were as many as five or six men — hard working men, desirous of settling in that locality, and spending their lives there — who had gone over the country, selected their little eighty or one hundred and sixty acres, raised their money by hard patient labor, to enter their little farm, and when they came to the land office, they were told that it was included in the 24,000 acres for $240,000, to the poor laborers who felled the forest, turned over the furrows in the soil, and made the country prosperous by their labor and their improvements. Now I declare myself in favor of the policy such as Jackson finally announced in his annual Message to Congress, in 1832; which was in substance that it was best to abandon the idea of raising revenues out of the public land, in order to afford to every American citizen an independent free-hold — that independent farmers are everywhere the basis of society and the true friends of liberty.
Why, what are these lands? We have to-day more land west of us than east of us in this country. Reflect upon that! Take a map and draw a line from east to west, over Kansas and Nebraska territories, and you will find it stretching over a distance equal to that from Springfield to Philadelphia. Why, those two territories alone contain land enough to make fourteen States as large as Illinois. Look at the territory, acquired by treaty from France and Mexico! Look at the vast Utah territory, at Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Washington, Oregon, containing hundreds and hundreds of millions of acres — a territory more extended and magnificent than Rome commanded in her greatest power and pride, when her imperial eagles swept in their irresistible course over the ancient world. And is there anything wrong in giving a home from all this bounty to the poor laboring man? Shall he breathe this pure air free? Shall he enjoy God's glorious sunlight free? Shall he drink the waters of our lakes and rivers free? And shall there not be a solitary place, not a green spot on the broad earth, where the poor, honest American citizen, when disaster pursues him, and all other resource has failed, can find a place to labor and make a home for himself and his children? I say, give it to him. Let the poor laborer go there, and by the blessing of God we will keep that territory free from the clank of a chain. [Loud Applause.] We will let no slave be taken to that territory. We will preserve it free, as God made it, for the poor white people of the South and of the North, and for their children and their children's children [applause.] We will keep it for the Anglo-Saxon race — that giant race which God designed should stamp the impress of their genius, and plant their free institutions upon this land. [Applause.] We will send our poor laborers there with the Bible and the ax, bearing with them the independence which our fathers achieved, and all the thousand improvements of an enlightened and Christian civilization. We will build up cities upon those broad plains, and scatter homesteads upon their thousand hills, until you can hear the rattle of machinery by every stream from the granite hills of New England to the rocky ramparts of the Pacific. Yea, to the golden gates of the West there shall be a line of witnesses of the onward majestic march of free American labor. [Tremendous applause.]
But, fellow-citizens, I hear some man say, "the Democrats are for all that, too." Prove it. Did you say so, my Democratic friend, when you were talking about nigger, more nigger, all nigger, at Charleston? [Laughter.] Did you ever mention the Homestead bill there? Have you not, in voting for it, time and again, during its pendency in Congress, always voted it down? Did you not vote Grow's bill down in the Senate a few days ago, by a unanimous vote, except, perhaps, of one or two who I believe had the "bronchitis." [Laughter.] All of them voted against this homestead measure. Where is the speech by any man of your party, in or out of Congress, in favor of this wise and benificent measure? I do not believe you can find it. I will not say you can't, but I do not think you can find one ever delivered by Judge Douglas in favor of a homestead bill. On the other hand the Republican members of Congress have been a serried host — a solid phalanx for this great and benificent measure. [Applause.]
We are in favor of the construction of the Pacific Railroad. Do you say the Democrats are also for it? Have you seen many of their speeches in favor of it? Have you seen evidences of any particular zeal on their part? A man can go to Congress and give a silent vote for a measure once in a while, but if he do nothing more he will really do but little for it. He must work, speak, labor for his measure. Where are the speeches, where are the acts which they have done since the days of Tom Benton which showed any real zeal for the Pacific Railroad? I do not say there is no such speech, but I don't recollect of many, and I don't believe you do.
About ten years ago, you recollect a few barks started out from New York for San Francisco, a distance of eighteen thousand miles. That distance has been somewhat shortened but it is still over six thousand miles. Within that ten years has sprung up that magnificent commerce, that splendid line of ocean steamers which now connect these distant ports. The traffic of great States is carried on through these noble vessels. So much has been achieved by the enterprise, intelligence and accumulated power of the American people.
But, fellow citizens, that is too far around for us. We want a way opened directly through — a Pacific Railroad, uniting ocean to ocean, and affording to the people a wider market and increased facilities for intercourse. We want to open a route around the world, connecting Europe and Asia by a speedier route than any known, and transporting through our midst the products of China and Japan on their way to consumers in England and France. We want a way which shall bring us within a few weeks travel by railroad and ocean steam navigation of the six hundred million people of Asia and the Indies. Why can we not build this road, spanning the continent? You say the country is uninhabited. So once was the country through which the great trunk lines of railroad across the Alleghanies have been built. Give to the people homesteads. Let every actual settler have one hundred and sixty acres free, for his home, on the public lands; and as the railroad is constructed, settlements will spring up at the stations and nestle along the track, until from New York to San Francisco, in ten years, or at least,
8within a quarter of a century, we will have an unbroken cordon of free, powerful commonwealths, stretching from ocean to ocean. [Applause.]
Such are the measures the Republican party propose to the American people. Upon this slavery question, I simply wish to say (a little out of place just here,) we occupy the same position held by whigs and democratic parties, in 1848. Here let me make a simple statement. Every free state in this Union, with one exception, in 1847, '48 and '49, passed resolutions in favor of the prohibition of slavery in the territories, and requesting their Representatives, and instructing their Senators to vote accordingly. More than that — I could easily show you that in 1848, no man took stronger ground in favor of the power of Congress over the Territories than Mr. Douglas, in 1848. He was unquestionably a Black Republican at that time, in this one respect. On the 13th February, 1848, Senator Douglas, in his speech on the admission of Iowa into the Union, made use of the following language: "The father may bind his son during his minority, but the moment he (the son) attains his majority, his fetters are severed, and he is free to regulate his own conduct. So, sir, with the territories; they are subject to the jurisdiction and control of Congress during their infancy — their minority — but when they attain their majority, and obtain admission into the Union, they are free from all restraints and restrictions, except such as the constitution of the United States has imposed upon each and all of the States." But now all those who now stand where all the old Democrats from Jefferson down to Polk stood, and we Whigs who stand where all the old Whigs from the first down to the death of Clay stood and still stand, are to be called abolitionists for maintaining these same great doctrines — now the doctrines of the Republican party.
And now, fellow citizens, I am through. ["Go on," "go on."] Well I will only say a few words in reference to the ticket. I know some folks are asking, who is Old Abe? I guess they will soon find out. [Laughter.] Old Abe is a plain sort of a man, about six feet four inches in his boots, and every inch of him MAN. [Laughter and loud cheers.] I recollect a little incident which occurred two years ago at a little party which amused me at the moment. A very tall man went up to Lincoln and said, "Mr. Lincoln, I think I am as tall as you are," and he stood up by him, displaying to the full his fine stature. Lincoln began to straighten himself up and up, until his competitor was somewhat staggered. "Well, I thought I was," said he, now doubtful which was the taller. "But," says Lincoln, straightening himself up still higher, "there's a good deal of come-out in me," and he came out two inches the highest. [Great applause and laughter.] He was, as many of you know, a plain, poor boy when he came here, and is a farmer-like looking sort of man now. A hard-working man he has been, in his time. ["Yes, and he is yet."]
I recollect the first time I ever saw Old Abe, and I have a great mind to tell you, though I don't know that I ought to. ["Yes, go on, go on."] It was more than a quarter of a century ago. [A voice, "He was ‘Young Abe’ then."] I was down at Salem with a friend, who remarked to me, one day, "I'll go over and introduce you to a fine young fellow we have here — a smart, genial, active young fellow, and we'll be certain to have a good talk." I consented, and he took me down to a collection of four or five houses, and looking over the way I saw a young man partly lying or resting on a cellar door, intently engaged in reading. My friend took me up and introduced me to young Lincoln, and I tell you as he rose up I wouldn't have shot at him then for a President. [Laughter.] Well, after some pleasant conversation, for Lincoln talked sensibly and generally then just as he does now, we all went up to dinner. I ought not to tell this on Lincoln. [Great laughter and cries of "go on," "go on!"] You know very well that we all lived in a very plain way in those times. The house was a rough log house, with a puncheon floor and clapboard roof, and might have been built like Solomon's Temple, "without the sound of hammer or nail," for there was no iron in it. — [Laughter.] The old lady whose house it was soon provided us with a dinner, the principle ingredient was a great bowl of milk which she handed to each. Somehow in serving Lincoln there was a mistake made, and his bowl tipped up and the bowl and milk rolled over the floor. — The good old lady was in deep distress, and burst out "Oh dear me! That's all my fault." Lincoln picked up the bowl in the best natured way in the world, remarking to her "Aunt Lizzy we'll not discuss whose fault it was — only if it don't worry you, it don't worry me." [Roars of laughter and applause.] The old lady was comforted and gave him another bowl of milk. [Renewed laughter.]
My friend Green who introduced me, told me the first time he ever saw Lincoln, he was in the Sangamon River, with his pants rolled up some five feet more or less, [great merriment] trying to pilot a flat boat over a mill-dam. The boat had got so full of water that it was very difficult to manage and almost impossible to get it over the dam. Lincoln finally contrived to get her prow over so that it projected a few feet, and there it stood. But he then invented a new way of bailing a flat boat. He bored a hole through the bottom to let the water run out, then corked her up and she launched right over. [Great laughter.] I think the Captain who proved himself so fitted to navigate the broad horn over the dam, is no doubt the man who is to stand upon the deck of the old ship, "the Constitution," and guide her safely over the billows and breakers that surround her. [Enthusiastic and prolonged applause.]
I do not mention these hardships of Lincoln's early life as evincing any great merit in themselves. Many a man among you may say, "I am a rail splitter. I have done many a hard day's work, and if that entitles him to be President, it entitles me to be President, too." All I mean to say in regard to his having been a poor, hard working boy, is that "it don't set him back any." [That's it.] As the young man said who courted and married a very pretty girl when on the next morning after the wedding she presented him with a thousand dollars. "Lizzie, I like you very much, indeed, but this thousand don't set you back any." [roars of laughter and cheers.] So if Lincoln has all the other qualities of a statesman, it don't set him back any with us who know and love him, to know that he was once a hard working boy.
We know he does not look very handsome, and some of the papers say he is positively ugly. Well, if all the ugly men in the United States vote for him, he will surely be elected. [Laughter.]
Is that all, say you? If you had read the scriptures, my Democratic friends, as well as you have the papers, it would save me the trouble of telling you of a chapter where the giant Goliath went out and defied the armies of the living God. He was a fearful giant, six cubits high — you see some giants are much higher than others. [Laughter.] Then the hosts of Israel were sore afraid; but a little fellow named David said: "Don't be afraid; I'll go and fight the Philistine." And he took a sling and five smooth pebbles, and went forth to meet him. As the giant approached vaunting at a great rate, David "put his hand into his Shepherd's bag and took thence a stone, and slung it and smote the Philistine in the forehead and he fell upon his face to the earth," and the Philistines fled. Do you see the application? [Great laughter.] Do you not remember how the Democratic party selected their giant, their best man, their ablest debater to be a standard bearer — and Senator Douglas is a strong man in any country. He was to be their candidate for the Presidency of the United States. He was to defy the armies of freedom, the Republican hosts everywhere. He came out to Illinois to fight us. Then we selected the little stripling Old Abe Lincoln [laughter and cheers,] and told him to go forth and meet the Giant. He went forth; he met him, and you all know the result — ["yes," "yes," and cheers,] triumph, glorious triumph in every contest, at every place. Yes, fellow citizens, Abraham Lincoln met Stephen A. Douglas in the grandest tournament of political discussion the world has ever seen, and literally offered him up a sacrifice on the altar of his great humbug — popular sovereignty. With his clear, penetrating and irresistible logic, he dispelled the smoke and sophistry with which Northern doughface politicians were aiming to dupe a confiding people. His every speech was a triumphant proclamation for liberty and the right. He made Republican principles stand forth in a light so clear, that the whole nation is rising en masse to pay undissembled homage to our platform, and to crown with the highest honors their great expounder. [Loud applause.] Let me give you a proof in addition to your own knowledge. The Republicans are circulating broadcast throughout the land the debates between Lincoln and Douglas — spreading as many of Douglas' speeches as of Lincoln's. They are willing to trust to the discussion as carried on between those two gentlemen for the perfect vindication of their principles. They are publishing these debates in vast numbers, and scattering them all over the land. But do you ever hear of Judge Douglas or his friends publishing or sending out a copy of this great discussion to show how he overcome Abraham Lincoln?
I said Lincoln was once a poor boy. And is it nothing? — Is there no lesson in his life to you, fellow-citizens? Is not his example and his achievement a lesson to the hopeful, the young and the poor? And will you blame the people if they love their own? He is the best friend of labor, who himself has labored. He can best sympathize with the people in their wants. Is the story of his life nothing? He is the representative of the great idea of the Republican party — labor — free labor. The representative of the genius of our free institutions.
9A boy the son of poor parents, himself poor, begins life unaided, save by his own industry and genius, struggles on, advancing step by step, through many years of patient and earnest endeavor until he rises to that proudest of all human elevations, the Presidency of the United States. — [Tremendous cheering.]
What an example here is for our children. Hereafter the poor boy who follows him in his history as he leaves the State of Kentucky, at the age of six years, and grows up in Indiana, laboring faithfully with his hands, going to Illinois and working on step by step, until he becomes the mighty statesman, and honored chief of thirty millions of freemen — as the poor boy of future years, reads the story, he will feel strange emotions in his breast, and determine to emulate the example of the noble Lincoln. [Cheers.] The poor boy — the poorest of you, though his parents may be humble, though he may have to face the colds of winter and the summer's sun, however poor he may be, in this land of freedom, where the avenues to office and success are open to all, he can point to Abraham Lincoln, and straighten himself up and say "I have the same right and same opportunity to be President, as any other boy." [Applause.]
Fellow citizens, the name of Abraham Lincoln, which we present to you is a winning name — a name to rally on wherever freedom requires a champion — a name to boast of wherever you would point to an honest man or a patriot — a name to love wherever affection would see a warm-hearted and generous spirit — a name which is a spell to gather millions wherever free hearts and strong hands are to be summoned in favor of liberty and humanity. [Tremendous applause.]
My friends, I recollect — oh! how I recollect — the mighty shout that went up from those assembled thousands at Chicago, in and outside of the great Wigwam when Abraham Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency of the United States — a shout louder, I have no doubt, than any that ever has been heard on earth since "the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy." I recollect how it was caught up by the electric current and sent forth upon the lightning's wing to every part of this mighty nation; O, how the glad tidings of the universal rejoicing of Republicans throughout this nation came back in thirty minutes to the Convention. I see that same spirit here to-day, and it will not subside. We will have bonfires and illuminations, we will have every demonstration of joy, and ten thousand thousand banners shall be born aloft inscribed with the words, "Lincoln and Hamlin, Union and Victory." [Great and long continued applause.]
As Mr. Yates retired the crowd gave him three hearty cheers, and then three rousers for Abraham Lincoln.