The Third Debate.
Tuesday, September 21, 1858.
The report of the debate between Lincoln and Douglas, at Jonesboro, is published in the Chicago papers. We make a careful and candid analysis of the points, not having room to publish it in extenso.
Judge Douglas opened with a long re-hash of his former speeches, that all parties formerly occupied the position he does now – that the Measures of 1850 repealed the Missouri Compromise – that Lincoln and Trumbull made a bargain to abolitionize the State – that diversified institutions are necessary to the existence of the Union – that the Supreme Court was right in deciding that Dred Scott was not a citizen – that the Union can permanently exist half slave and half free – that each State must determine its domestic institutions, and asking "Why can't we let the Union stand as our forefathers placed it?"
This constituted his opening speech – not a thought, not a sentiment uttered, which do no appear in his former speeches. We are surprised at this, as Judge Douglas has a reputation for some considerable ability; but this speech would indicate that he had exhausted himself.
Lincoln said, in reply that he agreed with Douglas as to the right of each State to determine its local institutions; that he wished to let the Union stand as our Fathers left it, but the democratic party would not let it stand thus – that the Fathers endeavored to cause, and earnestly hoped for, the ultimate extinction of slavery – that he was in favor, simply, of returning to the policy of the Fathers. He denied explicitly and in toto the charge that there was a bargain between him and Trumbull; he stated that the Missouri Compromise was not repealed by the Compromise of 1850 and that a special provision in the Nebraska-Kansas bill did repeal it – that Douglas, in a report to the Senate, had declared that the Measures of 1850 did not repeal the Compromise of 1820. He acknowledged that diversified climate, soil, &c, were bonds of Union; but that the Slavery question was the great cause of quarrel and dissension – that every effort to change the policy of the Fathers and spread it over more territory has been the cause of great agitation – and that a return to the original policy would prevent all difficulty. He referred to the effort of Douglas to make him responsible, not for the principles of the platform on which he stands, but for the sentiments of some of his friends, uttered five or six years ago, – he showed the position of Malony, Campbell, and other friends of Douglas in 1850 and quoted various resolutions of several democratic conventions, and also from a rampart abolition paper in this State which now supports Douglas, to show the utter fallacy of making a man responsible for every principle avowed by any of his friends. He also showed that, through the influence of Douglas, Campbell and Malony were appointed to office by a democratic President.
Mr. Lincoln then criticized some of the answers of Douglas at Freeport. He said he could not determine whether Judge Douglas would vote to admit Kansas without a population called for by the English Bill, or not; but would take it for granted that he would, unless the Judge should deny it explicitly. He made a masterly argument, altogether conclusive, showing that Douglas had not only changed his position on the Dred Scott decision, but that his present position, that a Territorial Legislature can render impotent the provisions of the U. S. Constitution, is ridiculous and untenable. He closed this part of his argument with his fifth interrogatory to Judge Douglas:
MR. LINCOLN – If the slaveholding citizens of a United States Territory should need and demand Congressional legislation for the protection of their slave property in such Territory, would you, as a member of Congress, vote for or against such legislation?
He then referred to a statement in a speech made by Douglas at Joliet, that Douglas made him "tremble in his knees so that he had to be carried off the platform," in the Ottawa debate, and that Lincoln was "laid up seven days." He exposed this disgusting lie in the most scathing manner.
Mr. Douglas rejoined, saying that his statement at Joliet was "a playful remark?" that Lincoln did not answer him at Ottawa, though he did at Freeport; that it was the Black Republican creed that no more Slave States should be admitted – that Lincoln's answer to the question whether he would vote for the admission of a Slave State was evasive, and it was impossible to say how he would vote. He reiterated the charge as to the bargain between Lincoln and Trumbull, and adduced Matheny as testimony, and said he could prove the charge true if he could get at the witness, when Lincoln said he would bring the witness before the Judge if Douglas would name them; but Douglas replied he was not permitted to use the name of one of the witnesses, but Matheny would do. Douglas repudiated Campbell and Molony, insisted that the Republican party in the Northern part of the State were Abolitionists, had a fling at Vermont, thought it wasn't any credit to Lincoln to be raised in the West, said he was in favor of admitting Kansas as a free State without a population of 90,420, and that Lincoln had not stated how he would vote.
In reply to the 5th interrogatory of Lincoln's he said he believed in non-interference, said he was bound by the Supreme Court decision, whether it was in favor him or against.
There were present at this debate between 1,5000 and 2,000 persons, a large number of whom are supporters of Lincoln. After the debate, Linder made a Douglas speech, and Dougherty a speech in support of Buchanan.
The 4th debate was to have taken place at Charleston, Coles County, last Saturday, and Lincoln was to have the opening and closing speeches.