Remarks of Mr. D. Dessau. At the Democratic Meeting at Franklin. August 21st, 1858.
September 3, 1858.
Mr. CHAIRMAN AND FELLOW CITIZENS: I am thankful to you for the honor you confer upon me to address you for a short time. I am proud of seeing so many of my democratic friends and fellow citizens assembled here to-day together in such a manner that my heart is rejoiced. I do not know, fellow citizens, whether I am politician enough to discuss the questions which were agitated in the last session of Congress; but I feel it is my duty gentlemen, as a Democrat, to sustain the course of our great hero, Stephen A. Douglas. I did not come on the stand to-day for the purpose of showing off high language, having to express my views in a very plain manner. I never saw a more intelligent audience assembled, and I am pleased to state that the democratic party has had, and will always have, the support in this county and all over the State, of patriotic and intelligent men.
Fellow citizens: I desire your attention for a few minutes while I address you upon the great political question discussed every day by our friend, Mr. Douglas, and our opponent Mr. A. Lincoln. I regard the selection of our friend, Mr. Douglas, by general assent, as the democratic candidate for U. S. Senate, as the best that could have been made; and consider it as an unmistakeable indication of the triumph of a true democratic principle over the corrupt and debasing negro equality of the black republican party on the one hand, and the ill-advised course of power on the other. The democracy of Franklin will fully endorse the course pursued by Mr. Douglas in the Senate, and are determined to prove their faith in him by aiding to return him to those halls where he has already distinguished himself as an able, upright and fearless champion of popular sovereignty, the right of the people to regulate their domestic institutions in their own way. It shows further, that the noble stand taken by our Senator, Stephen A. Douglas, in the Senate last winter, is now understood and appreciated, by the people of Illinois.
My friends, I say that a man like Mr. Douglas, who has the nerve to stand in defense of his principles with a brave heart, unmoved by the tide of opposition, and insensible alike to the smiles or frowns of power; a man who has battled bravely for the right, and maintained the cause of the people in the face of thousands of corrupting influences, that man occupies a high position, one in every way worthy of our admiration and support. Mr. Douglas felt it his duty to pursue his late course in the Senate of the United States, in reference to the question which has agitated the country for some time. I know that course has been arraigned not along by political opponents, but by some men pretending to belong to the democratic party, and yet acting as enemies against our party, for the purpose of electing a black republican to the U. S. Senate from this State.
There can be but two great political parties in this country. The contest this year and in 1860, must be between the Democracy and the Republicans. The Democratic State Convention which assembled on the 2d of April, nominated a State ticket. That convention was regularly called by the State Central Committee appointed by the previous State Convention for that purpose. No Convention was evermore harmonious in its action.
The leaders of the party there assembled, declared attachment to the time honored principles and organization of the Democratic platform. They declared that platform was the only authoritative exposition of democratic principles, and that it was to stand until changed by another national convention; that in the meantime, they voted to make no new tests and submit to none, that they would proscribe no Democrats nor permit the proscription of Democrats, because of their differing upon Lecomptonism or upon any other issue which has arisen, but would recognize all men as Democrats who stood upon the democratic platform and conformed to the usages of the party. Those Democrats who now claim to be the peculiar friends of the national administration, and have formed an alliance with Mr. Lincoln and the Republicans, for the purpose of defeating the democratic party to claim fellowship with the democratic organization, have entirely separated themselves from it and are endeavoring to build up a faction in this State, not with the hope or expectation of electing any one man to office who pretends to be a Democrat, but merely to secure the defeat of the democratic nominees, and the election of Republicans in their places.
During the last session of Congress, the great question was the admission of Kansas into the Union, under the Lecompton constitution. I need not inform you, my friends, that from the beginning to the end, he, Stephen A. Douglas, took the ground, as any honest, patriotic man would, opposing that Lecompton Constitution, as not vindicating the great right of popular sovereignty. The reason why the noble Senator has pursued that course was that it was not the act and deed of the people of Kansas, and was not their own free will. I say that the people of every state ought to have the right to form, adopt and ratify their own constitution, under which they are to live. When in 1854, Mr. Douglas introduced the Nebraska bill in the senate of the United States, it was incorporated in its provision that it was the true intent of the bill not to legislate slavery into any state or territory, or to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people free to form and regulate their own state affairs, subject to the Constitution of the United States.
But when the question arose in regard to the Lecompton constitution, which was sent into the senate, its friends not only asked for admission but they attempted to pass the constitution, fraudulently, as the free act of the people of Kansas. I know well, gentlemen, that any honest man who is a citizen of this country, knows that the Lecompton Constitution was not the act and deed of the people of Kansas.
Fellow-citizens — Illinois stands proudly forward as a state which early took her position in favor of the principle of popular sovereignty. When the compromise measures of 1850 passed, predicated upon that principle, the excitement was great in the northern part of Illinois. Stephen A. Douglas vindicated those measures then, and defended himself for having voted for them, upon the ground that they embraced the principle that the people of every state and territory, being organized into a state ought to have the privilege of forming and regulating their own constitution to suit themselves. This state had that right and Mr. Douglas saw no reason why it should not be extended to others. I know, while I am making these few remarks, that not one man can come forwards and say at this meeting, that Stephen A. Douglas has not been faithful to his principles. We find those who are struggling to defeat democratic principles, for the reason that Mr. Douglas has been too faithful to his country. We find these Black Republicans uniting against us with Lecompton men, to defeat every democratic nominee, and elect Black Republicans in their place. The only hope Mr. Lincoln has for defeating Mr. Douglas for the United States Senate, is the aid he expects to receive from bolting democrats.
In 1850 when the Union was thrown into convulsions; when Mr. Douglas and our wisest men entertained great fears as to its results; when Mr. Douglas devoted his best energies, and acted side by side with the immortal Clay, and the Godlike Webster, in that great struggle, in which whigs and democrats united upon a common platform — the Constitution — in order to restore peace and harmony to a distracted country; and when later, Mr. Douglas stood at the death-bed of the venerable old sage, Mr. Clay said, with deep and kind feeling, that he died satisfied after he had accomplished the compromise of 1850; showing that he looked approvingly upon that principle which is the foundation of the Nebraska bill of 1854. The doctrine of popular sovereignty was then established by embodying that great principle in the organic acts for the government of Utah and New Mexico, leaving the citizens of those territories free to regulate their local matters in their own way, subject to the constitution of the United States. In 1852, Franklin Pierce and General Scott were brought before the country by their respective parties for the presidency, and in both their political platforms, about the same thing, relative to the question of slavery, and the establishing of territorial government was incorporated. It was conceded by all honorable men that this adjustment of the question of slavery in the territories was based upon a correct principle, and should apply to all future territories. But the republicans have arrayed themselves against this principle, for which Mr. Douglas is now battling, and seek to awaken hostilities between the two sections of this country upon this subject.
This black Republican scheme will not succeed in this county. The people are all aroused, and understand the issue between our party and the black Republican party. Negro equality, and other views which they advocate do no suit our fancy, and in November next we will show it, and convince the black Republicans of the fact.