The Douglas Party in Illinois.
August 10, 1858.
From the St. Louis Democrat.
Whatever we may have thought of the Douglas party heretofore, and whatever we may have inferred concerning their esoteric position, its journals at least are determined that they shall not be misunderstood in future. The St. Louis election has furnished them a theme upon which to hang their duds of thin-worn democracy, and the airing enables one to see quite through such old clothes. In truth, just at this time, they very much resemble a body servant who has been turned adrift, and who is sporting his master's cast off finery, swearing his accustomed oaths, and employing his leisure ogling every good looking face teat passes. Let us be understood. We have felt some sympathy for Mr. Douglas in his struggle against the Lecompton fraud, and have taken no pains to conceal that sympathy. When he returned to canvass the state of Illinois, therefore, and to organize for himself a party out of the wreck made by the administration, there was no disposition on our part to interfere in his labors; but quietly awaiting development, we were content to note merely the changes as they occurred. Is it too much to add that we had hoped he would have penetrated that party with his own views, and that it would have shown itself decidedly adverse to the negro extension policies, and negro-perpetuating policies that have obtained mastery over the national democracy. Such, however, was not, and is not, the case.
Whatever leniency we may have extended to him therefore in his behalf does not extend to his followers. In other words, the Douglas party -- for, we presume, his personal adherents still claim the dignity of a party -- shows itself wedded body and soul to slavery-extension and slavery-propagandism. It can exult and swagger over even the temporary defeat of the emancipation cause in a neighboring state -- when that cause is led by independent democrats, opposed to Lecompton like themselves, who have been warred upon by the administration like their own leader. If this does not betray the cloven foot, it would be difficult to say what would.
Our readers will all bear us witness that we have arrived reluctantly at the conclusion, that we have forborne many signs, and placed the best construction upon many dubious utterances of the Douglas Democracy. When a cotemporary of this city stated some days since that Mr. Douglas himself stopped in the midst of a speech to read the dispatch announcing the administration triumph here and the election of Mr. Barret, accompanying it with his hearty indorsement, we were loth to believe it. When the Republican again set forth in very studied phrase that it had assurances which would justify it in casting its influence in favor of Mr. Douglas' return to the Senate, and that such a course was not at all distasteful to Mr. Buchanan, we deemed it only a dodge gotten up for political effect. But when the leading organ of Mr. Douglas in Illinois, his central mouth piece, known to be in confidence and to speak by the card, comes out and gloats over the President's pecuniary election successes in St. Louis, and therewith casts the first stone at the cause of free labor and the cause of the white man in Missouri, we are left no longer in doubt. It tells as plain as words can tell, that whatever the leader may protest, the Douglas party in Illinois has arrayed itself in favor both of slavery extension in the Territories and slavery perpetuation in the States, and that to insure it in both instances it also supports and upholds direct federal interference.
If this is so, we know very many good Democrats in the State of Illinois who have heretofore looked with other eyes upon the contest there, who will now set themselves to work to find out some truer, braver, honester exponent of their sentiment than can be found in the ranks of a party which quotes Senator Green's Lecompton victories had over independent Democrats in a neighboring commonwealth. At least we advise all readers of this journal, before taking an active part in the impending Senatorial contest of Illinois, to satisfy their minds and consciences what position the Douglas party do earnestly intend to assume in the great conflict of national politics, not less than the narrower issues that affect States and Territories. Then they can vote advisedly; but not till then.