Lincoln and Douglas at Charleston.
Sept. 23, 1858.
The fourth great debate between Lincoln and Douglas came off at Charleston, on Saturday last, and Lincoln achieved another triumph. We regret that our limited space will not allow us to give the whole Debate. We give the following extracts from Mr. Lincoln's speech:
While I was at hotel to-day an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing perfect equality between the negroes and white people. [Great laughter.] While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause] -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people, and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior. I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied every thing. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. [Cheers and laughter.] My understanding is that I can just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year and I certainly never have had a black woman for either a slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along with out making either slaves or wives of negroes. I will add to this I have never seen to my knowledge a man, woman or child that was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social and political, between negroes and white men. I recollect of but one distinguished instance that I have heard so frequently as to be entirely satisfied of its correctness and that is the case of Judge Douglas' old friend Col. Richard M. Johnson. [Laughter and cheers.] I will also add to the few remarks I have made, (for I am not going to enter at large upon this subject,) that I have never had the least apprehension that I or my friends would marry negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, [laughter] but as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if there were no law to keep them from it, [roars of laughter] I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes. [Continued laughter and applause.] I will add one further word, which is this, that I do not understand there is any place where an alteration of social and political relations of the negro and white man can be changed except in the State Legislature -- not in the Congress of United States -- and as I do not really apprehend the approach of any such thing myself, and as Judge Douglas seems to be in constant horror that some such danger is rapidly approaching , I propose as the best means to prevent it, that the Judge be kept at home and placed in the State Legislature to fight the measure. [Uproarious laughter and applause] I do not propose dwelling longer at this time on this subject.
Judge Douglas has said to you that he has not been able to get from me an answer to the question whether I am in favor of negro citizenship. So far as I know, the Judge never asked me the question before. [Applause.] He shall have no occasion to ever ask it again, for I tell him very frankly that I am not in favor of negro citizenship. [Renewed applause.] This furnishes me an occasion for saying a few words upon the subject. I mentioned in a certain speech of mine which has been printed, that the Supreme Court had decided that a negro could not possibly be made a citizen, and without saying what was my ground of complaint in regard to that, or whether I had any ground of complaint, Judge Douglas has from that thing manufactured nearly everything that he ever says about my disposition to produce an equality between the negroes and white people. [Laughter and applause.] If any one will read my speech, he will find I mentioned that as one of the points decided in the course of the Supreme Court opinions, but I did not state what objection I had to it. But Judge Douglas tells the people what my objection was when I did not tell them myself. [Loud applause and laughter.] Now my own opinion is that the different States have the power to make a negro a citizen under the Constitution of United States if they choose. The Dred Scott decision decides that they have not that power. It the State of Illinois had that power I should be opposed to the exercise of it -- [cries of "good," "good," and applause,] That is all I have to say about it.
Judge Douglas has told you that he heard my speeches north and my speeches south -- that he had heard me at Ottawa and at Freeport in the north, and recently at Jonesboro in the south, and there was a very different cast of sentiment in the speeches made at the different points. I will not charge upon Judge Douglas that he wilfully misrepresents me, but I call upon every fair-minded man to take these speeches and read them, and I dare him to point out any difference between my printed speeches north and south. [Great cheering.] While I am here perhaps I ought to say a word, if I have the time, in regard to the latter portion of the Judge's speech, which was a sort of declamation in reference to my having said I entertained the belief that this government would not endure, half slave and half free. I have said so and I did not say it without what seemed to me to be good reasons. It perhaps would require more time than I have now to set forth these reasons in detail; but let me ask you a few questions. Have we ever had any peace on this slavery question? [No, no.] When are we to have peace upon it if it is kept in the position it now occupies? [Never.] How are we ever to have peace on it? That is an important question. To be sure if we will all stop and allow Judge Douglas and his friends to march on in their present career until they plant the institution all over the nation, here and wherever else our flag waves, and we acquiesce in it, there will be peace. But let me ask Judge Douglas how he is going to get the people to do that? [Applause.] They have been wrangling over this question for at least forty years. This was the cause of the agitation resulting in the Missouri Compromise -- this produced the trouble at the annexation of Texas, in the acquisition of the territory acquired in the Mexican war. Again, this was the trouble which was quieted by the Compromise of 1850, when it was settled "forever," as both the great political parties declared in their National Conventions. That "forever" turned out to be just four years, [laughter] when Judge Douglas himself reopened it. [Immense applause, cries of "hit him again," &c.] When is it likely to come to an end? He introduced the Nebraska bill in 1854 to put another end to the slavery agitation. He promised that it would finish it all up immediately, and he has never made a speech since until he got into a quarrel with the President about the Lecompton Constitution, in which he has not declared that we are just at the end of slavery agitation. But in one speech, I think last winter, he did say that he didn't quite see when the end of the slavery agitation would come. [Laughter and cheers.] Now he tells us again that it is all over, and the people of Kansas have voted down the Lecompton Constitution. How is it over? That was only one of the attempts at putting an end to the slavery agitation -- one of these "final settlements." [Renewed laughter.] Is Kansas in the Union? Has she formed a Constitution that she is likely to come in under? Is not the slavery agitation still an open question in that Territory? Has the voting down of that Constitution put an end to all trouble? Is that more likely to settle it than every one of these previous attempts to settle the slavery agitation? [Cries of "No," "No."] Now at this day in the history of the world we can no more tell where the end of this slavery agitation will be than we can see the end of the world itself. The Nebraska Kansas bill was introduced four years and a half ago, and if the agitation ever comes to an end, we may say we are four years and a half nearer the end. So, too, we can say we are four and a half years nearer the end of the world; and we can just as clearly see the end of the world as we can the end of this agitation. [Applause.] The Kansas settlement did not conclude it. If Kansas should sink to-day and leave a great vacant space in the earth's surface, this vexed question would still be among us. I say then there is no way of putting an end to the slavery agitatio n amongst us but to put it back upon the basis where our fathers placed it, [applause] no way but to keep it out of our new Territories, [renewed applause] to restrict it forever, to the old States where it exists. [Tremendous and prolonged cheering , cries of "That's the doctrine," "Good," "Good," &c.] Then the public mind will rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction. That is one way of putting end to the slavery agitation. [Applause.]
The other way is for us to surrender and let Judge Douglas and his friends have their way and plant slavery all over the States -- cease speaking of it as in any way a wrong -- regard slavery as one of the common matters of property, and speak of negroes as we do of our horses and cattle But while it drives on in its state of progress as it is now driving, and as it has driven for the last five years, I have ventured the opinion, and I say to-day, that we will have no end to slavery agitation until it takes one turn or the other. [Applause.] I do not mean that when it takes a turn towards ultimate extinction it will be in a day, nor in a year, nor in two years. I do not suppose that in the most peaceful way ultimate extinction would occur in less than a hundred years at the least; but that will occur in the best way for both races in God's own good time, I have no doubt. [Applause.] But, my friends, I have used up more of my time than I intend on this point.