Douglas in Character.
Tuesday, September 28, 1858.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 21, 1858.
At the recent discussion at Jonesboro, Lincoln pushed Douglas very hard for his complications with our democratic "abolition fanatics" in the northern part of the State. He read Mr. Campbell's "little hand bill platform," adopted by the democracy of this district by their repeated support of Campbell. Mr. Douglas in reply said:
"But Lincoln is not willing to be responsible for the creed of his party. He complains because I hold him responsible, and in order to avoid the issue, he attempts to show that individuals in the Democratic party, many years ago, expressed abolition sentiments. It is true that Tom Campbell, when a candidate for Congress in 1850, published the letter which Lincoln read. When I asked Lincoln for the date of that letter he could not give it. The date of the letter has been suppressed by other speakers who have used it, though I take it for granted that Lincoln did not know the date. If he will take the trouble to examine, he will find that the letter was published only two days before the election, and was never seen until after it, except in one county. Tom Campbell would have been beat to death by the Democratic party if that letter had been made public in his district. As to Moloney, it is true he uttered sentiments of the kind referred to by Mr. Lincoln, and the best democrats would not vote for him for that reason. I returned from Washington after the passage of the Compromise measures in 1850, and when I found Moloney running under John Wentworth's tutelage, and on his platform, I denounced him, and declared that he was no democrat.
Now this reply is characteristic of Douglas. In the first place he quibbles about the date of the letter (as if that were material) and says Tom Campbell would have been beaten to death by the democracy if it had been made public. For the information of the Senator we can state that the handbill containing the letter is dated "Saturday Morning, November 2, 1850," three whole days before the election, and was circulated in half of the counties of the district. It never lost him a single "democratic" vote, but gained him a great number of abolition votes.
But Douglas suppresses the truth of the whole matter, which in law and morals is equivalent to the utterance of a falsehood. The letter of Campbell was written in November, 1850 – if not made public all over his district prior to his election in 1850, it was made public afterwards. It was known to every intelligent political man in the district prior to 1852. It was published in a circular, and a copy thereof was sent to every member of the Congress of which Mr. Campbell was a member. In 1852, with a full knowledge of this letter, the "democracy" of this district unanimously re-nominated Mr. Campbell as their candidate for Congress, and the entire party voted for him. In that contest he had the support and sympathy of Douglas. When he was beaten, Douglas procured for him the appointment from President Pierce of Land Commissioner in California. Such are the facts in regard to Campbell, and which according to Douglas's mode of reasoning commit him to the "odious abolition and revolutionary doctrines" which Campbell had promulgated.
But the way the "little Giant" disposes of his quondam friend Moloney is infinitely amusing. He found him "running under John Wentworth's pupilage, and then he denounced him as no democrat"! When and where did he so denounce poor Moloney? After Moloney was defeated for Congress in 1852, like Campbell, he became a candidate for office under Pierce's administration. By the recommendation of Judge Douglas this same Moloney was appointed Register of the Land Office at Danville. In 1856, with the concurrence and assent of Douglas, this same Moloney was nominated by the democracy for Congress in this district, and he and Douglass canvassed the district as devoted friends. Now, to subserve the purpose of the Senator he whistles both his old abolition friends down the wind and it can be said of him as was said of another:
For he thinks when he will he can whistle them back."