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Douglas Soliloquizing.


Thursday, September 30, 1858.

Am I not a consistent giant? I have spent my previous life, so far, and shall dedicate the other end of it to the popular sovereignty of my Nebraska bill. – (See Chicago reception speech, 1858.)

When I said that the Missouri Compromise was a very excellent thing and should be retained on the statute book, cursing all who might disturb it, being canonized or sainted, deep in the hearts of the American people – that was in some other life of mine, and should not be enumerated in the precious period previously proposed as dedicated. (See resolution of mine to extend the line to the Pacific.)

When I entered Congress for the first time in 1843, I found the Missouri Line on the statute book, and, although I did not approve of the measure, I was willing to abide by it, rather than expose the country to the perils and convulsions of a sectional agitation. (See Chicago speech, Nov. 9th, 1854, when Isaac Cook, Esq., was one of the eight committee men of reception, at a time that I, Judge Douglas, was in the daily habit of urging Cook to the performance of enormous duties of friendly offices for me, swearing fidelity, and hoped to be accursed to men if I should forget him.)

But afterward, when I had worked harder probably, than any other living man to get the Missouri Compromise repealed. It was on this fundamental precedent principle that I had come to the conclusion that the country was ungrateful, I getting but fifty votes during a large number of ballotings in the National Convention as a candidate for the Presidency, although I had spent more money than any other living man for that object, and displeased my larder, at my opposition white house, to more political vagrants than any other living man, without stint and without price, all for my country, and therefore, my country being so ungrateful towards me, I became not so particular about the perils and convulsions of sectional agitation of my "ungrateful country," as I was, when I first entered Congress. So I repealed the Missouri Compromise and agitated the country, to show you there was a giant in the land, to give self-government to the Territories and secure the inherent right of free legislation for themselves, by the will of the majorities, against the unconstitutional resumptions of an arrogant Congress, except when I found their Conventions and legislation displeased me. In that case, I took away self-government and gave them Douglas government. Did I not leave the peaceful precincts of home, and forego the great pleasure of sleep on the cars, in the month of June 1857, going down to Springfield, the capital of my adopted State, and there get an invitation from the Grand Jury to hear me speak? Did I not, then and there, tell them the effect of the principle of Popular Sovereignty, which I gave the people of Kansas, and that the said people of Kansas were about to speak for themselves, through the Lecompton Convention that was rightly called and to be lawfully organized, all under Popular Sovereignty, and that the law of the Legislature, was fair and just? (See Springfield Speech, June, 1857, and all others before the FALL.)

Col. Richardson, however, ought to have been put into the Cabinet by Buchanan, in the place of Postmaster General Brown, to have enabled me to have had control of all mails throughout the United States, as I had got through the pigmy task of representing peacefully, calmly, justly and dignifiedly, the State of Illinois in the Senate of Congress as the Democratic voice of the State, but was determined, being made by nature very short. I would climb higher to see "the sun set," and teach dwarfs that when my love is crossed, it arouses my hate and makes me terrible. (See my letter to the President on Father Cutts appointment, published in the Chicago Times.)

When this terrible fit was on me, I made my speech against the Little Dwarf Message of Buchanan, wherein I said the law of the Legislature, calling the Convention, was null and void from the beginning, and the Convention had no power to do any act forming a government, that thereby the Constitution was a fraud. (See my giant speech, December, '57, against the Dwarf Message.)

True, I said before the Grand Jury in my Springfield speech, that the Lecompton delegates that were about to be elected, to form a Constitution, (This was before the fall,) and in my December speech I said, they were only to assemble a petition for redress of grievance. (This speech was after the fall.)

In my Springfield speech I said that the law of the Legislature, authorizing the election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention at Lecompton, and the authorizing of delegates, was fair and just in all its objects and provisions. – (This was in my speech before the fall.)

In my Washington speech I said the law was null and void from the beginning. (This was after the fall.)

In my Springfield speech I asserted, if certain contingencies should secure a pro-slavery Constitution, the responsibility should rest on those who stand away from voting for delegates. (This was before the fall.)

But in my Washington speech I said the delegates of the Convention had no power or authority to establish a government, and consequently could not by any possibility have secured anything. (This was after the fall.)

In my Springfield speech I said that certain inhabitants had better go to the polls and vote for delegates to the Lecompton Convention, or there might perhaps be a chance of living under a pro-slavery Constitution, intending to intimate thereby that the "Kansas aid men" had better vote the delegates to Lecompton.

(This was before the fall.)

In my Washington speech, I said the Convention had no power to make a Constitution or form a State Government, and hence the fear of living under a pro-slavery Constitution was very foolish. (This was after the fall.)

In my report in the Senate March 12, 1856, I stated the facts as they existed in the Territory of Kansas at that time, in a labored argument of 29 pages, going fully to prove that the "Kansas aid men" had been in rebellion there in the Territory since they arrived, and I, as Chairman of said Committee, expressed a sincere satisfaction in commending the message and proclamation of President Pierce, in which he gave the gratifying assurance that the rebellion would be crushed, and the "Aid Society men" suppressed. (This was before the fall.)

But when I found that Mr. Buchanan was so headstrong that I could not successfully prevail upon him to allow me to appoint one or two members of his Cabinet for him, and thus made war on me, I looked towards the "Kansas aid men" in altogether a different light, and took occasion to defend the awkward position in which they had been suspended. Namely, of refusing to vote when the law commanded them, and then voting on a matter already settled, declaring their actions binding on the Territory at a fictitious election; boldly helping them out of their dilemma, by assenting on the Senate floor that they were the good citizens of Kansas, and their acts legitimate – predicating my whole defence against the Constitution on these two points. (This was at the fall.)

When I spoke in Chicago against Lincoln's Springfield speech, so strongly taking personal and political issues with him, it was for two objects; first, I was mad that the Republican party could not be controlled by Greeley, Burlingame and Company, but must hold a State Convention and nominate Lincoln for the Senate, before I had returned to define my position, at Chicago, cutting off all hopes of Republican votes, which was promised me last winter. Second, my followers failed to nominate me, or recommend me, and there was no alternative left for me, but to declare myself the candidate of the party and bid them follow.

There is only one thing I regret, and that is, that I did not keep mum on the "Dred Scott" decision at Freeport, as I did in the Senate last winter, when Seward and Wade, the other of my Republican friends belabored the Supreme Court so famously. And thus I soliloquized.

Freeport Sept. 16th, '58.