A Funeral in Preparation.
August 4, 1858.
From the Chicago Press and Tribune.
Mr. Douglas is peppered and salted. He is laid away in the most approved style of the Pharoahs. The inscription on his catacomb will read: "A celebrated Sq. Sovereign, done to death by Dred Scott, the black outlaw of the nineteenth century. His end was not peaceful, but it was conclusive. Obiit Nov. MDCCCLVIII." Posterity will wonder why the victim threw himself in the way of so notorious a bandit, at the same time they reflect on the inhumanity of Scott. People will turn to the history of the times and draw a moral in favor of honesty and against the trade of the mountebank. Mr. Douglas' career will be regarded as a lesson for the American youth or something to be shunned both for its inherent baseness and the conspicuous fate which it bought upon that once famous trickster.
For a while after the introduction of the Lecompton bill Mr. Douglas' reelection seemed to be one of the certainties of politics. The Republican newspapers of the State published his speeches and gave place to every waif and circumstance which could throw light on his future intentions. Letters were written to him by persons who had before deemed him the most dangerous man in the Republic -- the most fatal enemy of his country that events had brought to the surface since Aaron Burr fled from the hot breath of a nation's hate-letters urging him to separate himself from the guilt and infamy of slavery, and become an agent in restoring a brighter day to the history of free government. Through the length and breadth of the Republican party there was no attempt to repel his approach, no wish to dampen his ardor for the cause of free Kansas, (if perchance he cherished any,) no thought to detract from his just credit, no desire to taunt him with his manifest inconsistencies.
Every one was amazed that the apologist nay, the foremost eulogist of Border Ruffianism, in the three preceding years, could refuse the legitimate fruits of his own toil; the question was silently asked in each mind, "Why can he not accept the work of the third bogus Legislature as he did that of the first and second?" but nowhere was the query accompanied by a threat, hardly anywhere by an evil wish. Mr. Douglas had earned the most cordial hostility from the Republicans of Illinois that ever fell to the lot of man. In addition to his record in Kansas, he had exhausted the vocabulary for phases vulgar enough to denounce them. One of his choicest expletives was this: "Every Republican who asks to be elected to an office under the Constitution of the United States, is a candidate for the honors of perjury." Yet in the glow of their anger against this man in the fierceness of their hostility to his headlong pro slavery career they paused to see whether a spark of the principle of his birthplace remained unquenched in his busom. They waited anxiously for the sound of a free soil sentence on his lipsa sentence which he has not uttered in eight years of peril to human rights, peril to the liberty which cost eight years of heroism and blood to plant on the soil which nourished him. Nor does he utter it now. His last enunciation had been a tirade against the Declaration of Independence. His first speech on his return was a libel on those who framed it. He had gone away with a hymn on his tongue to the majesty of the Dred Scott dictum; he returned singing the same strain more vociferously then ever.
We will not speculate on the possible consequences of his espousing the side of freedom; but he has now trifled with the principles, the convictions, the honesty of the people, once too often. His funeral is being prepared as surely as Illinois loves her own freedom; as surely as she despises sophistry and applauds fair dealing and outspoken truth. Not one man in a thousand but knows "Popular Sovereignty" is ground not one but hears Douglas laud that dictum as an inspired oracle. Basing his claims to an election on the right of the people in the Territories to establish or prohibit Slavery, he rejoices over a decision which declares they have no such right. Vociferating for the power of the people to regulate their own institutions, he denounces all who oppose a decision which takes away that power. No man can follow his role in Illinois, and find an office at the end of it. Mr. Douglas not only advocates the extension of slavery, but he employs for that purpose only such reasons as belie his whole political life. In establishing that he has no claims upon us, as a friend of humanity, he uses only those arguments which prove him to be no statesman. Laboring to show his recreancy to the Declaration of Independence, his premises make him a mountebank.
Hence we say his funeral is in preparation Heretofore his falsehoods have been gilded with plausibility. Now each one exposes the other. His reelection on such terms would argue among his constituents the ignorance of a sans cullotte mob.