[From the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.]
August 5, 1858.
"One swallow does not make a summer," and one good deed cannot make a saint out of a sinner. The political sins of Stephen A. Douglas, prior to last winter, were too many to be stoned for by his solitary token of conversion, his opposition to the Lecompton Constitution. If the captive of that opposition could all be fathomed, it would be regarded as not such a wonderful display of political virtue, after all. It has now been evident, to loss brilliant minds than Mr. Douglas', that, with the growing opposition to slavery extension in Illinois in all the northern States, so southern politician, who clung to the standard Democratic doctrine on that subject, could hope to remain in office. The session of 1857-8 in Congress was a fit occasion for Mr. Douglas' partial abandonment of his brethren on that subject, inasmuch on the States election in Illinois, of November, 1858, one to determine the character of the Legislature that will have to elect a Senator for six years from March 4th, 1859, when Mr. Douglas' present term expires. If Mr. Douglas had gone for Lecompton he would not have had the shadow of a chance for re-election. By going against Lecompton he had a chance, and he is determined to make the most of it.
But eleventh hour and halfway penitents are poor, unreliable creatures after all. Mr. Douglas opened the way for all the misery and mischief of this Kansas business that line disturbed the country for so long a time when he lead off in favor of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. If that had not been done, Kansas would have been a flour-rolling free State before this, and there would have been no agitation of the people on the subject. Mr. Douglas chose to disturb the country. The people of the north were incensed at the persistent efforts made by him, President Pierce and others, to strengthen the south and spread slavery. A furious anti-slavery extension feeling spread everywhere: the Republican party sprang up like magic; the Democracy became demoralized no one of their leaders at the North, that had been active in prompting the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, could hope to be sustained by the people. With an audacity cruel to his cunning, Mr. Douglas, who had done all the wrong, suddenly turned round, last fall, not taking advantage of his own wrong — a thing that common sense as well as common law forbid, — put himself in opposition to the Administration on the question of the Lecompton Constitution. If the election a United States Senator to take place in Illinois had been fixed for 1862 instead of 1859, Mr. Douglas would scarcely have been ready to desert the President, on an issue that can be traced directly to his own action.
But Mr. Douglas is a shrewd political strategist. There is no one more cunning than he in all the maneuvering and intrigue that enter so largely into the plane and practice of the Democracy, especially in the State of Illinois. He has a rare and inexhaustible energy; a bravery that would be worthy of a knight, if it had in it more the chivalrous spirit. He is not quite a Bayard; for though we know him to be sans peur, who can say that he is sans reproache? If there is a township, or a ward, or a county to be managed, and if the management calls for skill and cunning, without delicacy, modesty or a very scrupulous conscience, there are few persons better fitted for the work than Mr. Douglas. In the campaign of 1850, his talents in this department of politics were displayed in Illinois with signal success. The State was carried for Mr. Buchanan more through Mr. Douglas' efforts than through the united of any other half dozen men.
The campaign for the United States Senatorship in Illinois has fairly commenced, and Mr. Douglas enters upon it with vigor, already displaying his popular talent at political management before an admiring world. He has contrived to enter upon the arena with a most imposing flourish of trumpets. He has procured a reception of the most flattering kind at Chicago, where a year or two ago he enjoyed a reputation very far from enviable. He has made a speech in which he reviews and applauds his own courses on the Lecompton question, in a strain that is almost hard to, and the people of Chicago have adhered him applause, and made his reception assume the air of a triumph. He has, however, done what in their hours of sober recollection, they cannot and will not applaud. He has expressed his acquiescence in the Dred Scott decision, no if it were possible for a man of any protension to consistency to approve that decision and at the same time take Mr. Douglas' ground on the Lecompton question. But this is meant to secure Democratic votes, and to persuade the party in Illinois that he is with them still, although he did not vote for Lecomptonism. He fears that anti-Lecomptonism will not save him, and he tries to mingle with it a little pro-Lecomptonism. He carries with him the bargain and the anecdote, so as to use either according to the change of atmosphere or the emergencies of the decision.
A very good, consistent, anti-Kansas-Nebraska bill, anti-Lecomptonism, anti-Dred Scott decision, anti-slaver, anti-Buchanan, anti-Douglas, and anti-Pierce Democracy man, Hon. Abraham Lincoln, has been nominated for the United States Senate by the Republicans of Illinois. He is soundly Republican on all the questions before the country at this time, and has no reservations and no disguises. He does not ask for the voices of the Democrats, or Democrats; but he appeals fairly for the support of all who approve of the political principles that he has honestly expressed. Between him and much a doubtful candidate as Mr. Douglas, there ought to be no difficulty in choosing. Mr. Lincoln is plainly and uncompromisingly opposed to slavery extension. Mr. Douglas was only opposed to the Lecompton Constitution. At every other stop of his political career, he has done all in his power to assist the South and promote slavery extension, and his destruction of the Missouri Compromise line should alone be sufficient to deprive him of all the chance of support by the Republicans or the Anti-Slavery Democrats of Illinois. His Anti-Lecomptonism was a thing of expediency, of anxiety, indeed; for he knew that his only hope of retaining any political strength at home was to take that ground. He has managed the whole affair with wonderful cleverness. But who can tell whether he will not be as strongly Pro-Slavery in 1860 as he ever was? He has, indeed, never retracted any of his former opinions in favor of slavery, his opposition to the Lecompton Constitution, being based on other grounds. He has contrived to have himself made a hero, in some sort, at Washington and Chicago. But really he is only anxious to use the Republicans for his own continuance in the Senate. He is already coquetting with the Democratic leaders, and negotiations seem to be going on for receiving him once more into the Democratic fold. How, under such circumstances, any Republican can think of advocating his election in the Senate, over such a man as Abraham Lincoln, surpasses our comprehension.