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First Speech Senatorial Canvass, 1858. The advances of Slavery.
head of the dynasty; and that he has regularly voted with us, on a single point, upon which he and we have never differed. “They remind us that he is a very great man, and that the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be granted. But ‘a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion for this work, is at least a caged and toothless one. How can he oppose the advances of slavery He don't care anything about it. His avowed mission is impressing the ‘public heart' to care nothing about it. “A leading Douglas Democrat newspaper thinks Douglas's superior talent will be needed to resist the revival of the African slave-trade. Does Douglas believe an effort to revive that trade is approaching 2 He has not said so. Does he really think so 7 But if it is, how can he resist it? For years he has labored to prove it a sacred right of white men to take negro slaves into the new Territories. Can he possibly show that it is less a sacred right to buy them where they can be bought cheapest ? And, unquestionably they can be bought cheaper in Africa than in Virginia. “He has done all in his power to reduce the whole question of slavery to one of a mere right of property; and as such, how can he oppose the foreign slave-trade—how can he refuse that trade in that “property” shall be ‘perfectly free’—unless he does it as a protection to the home produc tion ? And as the home producers will probably not ask the protection, he will be wholly without a ground of opposition “Senator Douglas holds, we know, that a man may rightfully be wiser to-day than he was yesterday — that he may rightfully change when he finds himself wrong. But can we for that reason run ahead and infer that he will make any particular change, of which he himself has given no intimation ? Can we safely base our action upon any such vague inferences 7
First Speech Senatorial Canvass, 1858. The great Struggle between the Candidates.
“Now, as ever, I wish not to misrepresent Judge Douglas's position, question his motives, or do aught that can be personally offensive to him. Whenever, if ever, he and we can come together on principle, so that our great cause may have assistance from his great ability, I hope to have interposed no adventitious obstacle.
“But clearly, he is not now with us–he does not pretend to be—he does not promise ever to be. Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by its own undoubted friends—those whose bands are free, whose hearts are in the work—who do care for the result.
“Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand strong. We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us. Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud and pampered enemy. Did we brave all then to falter now 7–now—when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered and belligerent 7
“The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail—if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.”
In this most vigorously prosecuted canvass Illinois was stumped throughout its length and breadth by both candidates and their respective advocates, and the struggle was watched with interest by the country at large. From county to county, from township to township, and village to village the two champions travelled, frequently in the same car or carriage, and in the presence of immense crowds of men, women, and children—for the wives and daughters of the hardy yeomanry were naturally interested—argued, face to face, the important points of their political belief, and contended nobly for the mastery.
Tribute to the Declaration of Independence. Its great Principles
In one of his speeches during this memorable campaign, Mr. Lincoln paid the following tribute to the Declaration of Independence:—
“These communities, (the thirteen colonies,) by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the world of men, ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are born equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the race of men then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the furthest posterity. They created a beacon to guide their children and their children's children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths that when, in the distant future, some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, or none but Anglo-Saxon white men, were entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence, and take courage to renew the battle, which their fathers began, so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.
“Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines conflicting with the great landmarks of the Declaration of
Declaration of Independence. An Immortal Emblem. Triumph of Judge Douglas.
Independence; if you have listened to suggestions which would take away from its grandeur, and mutilate the fair symmetry of its proportions; if you have been inclined to believe that all men are not created equal in those inalienable rights enumerated by our chart of liberty, let me entreat you to come back—return to the fountain whose waters spring close by the blood of the Revolution. Think nothing of me, take no thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever, but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence.
“You may do any thing with me you choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles. You may not only defeat me for the Senate, but you may take me and put me to death. While pretending no indifference to earthly honors, I do claim to be actuated in this contest by something higher than an anxiety for office. I charge you to drop every paltry and insignificant thought for any man's success. It is nothing; I am nothing; Judge Douglas is nothing. But do not destroy that immortal emblem of humanity—the Declaration of American Independence.”
In the election which closed this contest, the Republican candidate received 126,084 votes; the Douglas Democrats, 121,940; and the Lecompton Democrats, 5,091. Mr. Douglas was, however, re-elected to the Senate by the Legislature, in which, owing to the peculiar apportionment of the legislative districts his supporters had a majority of eight in joint ballot.
The campaign of 1859. His Cincinnati Speech. Results of a Republican Triumph.
Speeches in Ohio–Extract from his Cincinnati Speech—Visits the East—Celebrated Speech at the Cooper Institute, New York—Interesting Incident.
THE issue of this contest with Douglas, seemingly a defeat, was destined in due time to prove a decisive triumph. Mr. Lincoln's reputation as a skillful debater and master of political fence was secure, and admitted throughout the land. During the year ensuing he again devoted himself almost exclusively to professional labors, delivering, however, in the campaign of 1859, at the earnest solicitation of the Republicans of Ohio, two most convincing speeches in that State, one at Columbus, and the other at Cincinnati.
In his speech in the latter city, alluding to the certainty of a speedy Republican triumph in the nation, Mr. Lincoln thus sketched what he regarded as the inevitable results of such a victory:
“I will tell you, so far as I am authorized to speak for the opposition, what we mean to do with you. We mean to treat you, as nearly as we possibly can, as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison treated you. We mean to leave you alone, and in no way interfere with your institution; to abide by all and every compromise of the Constitution; and, in a word, coming back to the original proposition to treat you, so far as degenerated men (if we have degenerated) may, imitating the example of those noble fathers, Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. We mean to remember that you are as good as we ; that there is no difference between us other than the difference of circumstances. We mean to recognize