"Will you ever submit to a warfare waged by the Southern States to establish Slavery in Illinois? What man in Illinois would not lose the last drop of his heart's blood before lie would submit to the institution of Slavery being forced upon us by the other States against our will? And if that be true of us, what Southern man would not shed the last drop of his heart's blood to prevent Illinois, or any other Northern State, from interfering to abolish Slavery in his State? Each of these States is sovereign under the Constitution; and if we wish to preserve our liberties, the reserved rights and sovereignty of each and every State must be maintained. * * * The difference between Mr. Lincoln and myself upon this point is, that he goes for a combination of the Northern States, or the organization of a sectional political party in the Free States, to make War on the domestic institutions of the Southern States, and to prosecute that War until they all shall be subdued, and made to conform to such rules as the North shall dictate to them.
"I am aware that Mr. Lincoln, on Saturday night last, made a speech at Chicago for the purpose, as he said, of explaining his position on this question. * * * His answer to this point which I have been arguing, is, that he never did mean, and that I ought to know that he never intended to convey the idea, that he wished the people of the Free States to enter into the Southern States and interfere with Slavery. Well, I never did suppose that he ever dreamed of entering into Kentucky, to make War upon her institutions, nor will any Abolitionist ever enter into Kentucky to wage such War. Their mode of making War is not to enter into those States where Slavery exists, and there interfere, and render themselves responsible for the consequences. Oh, no! They stand on this side of the Ohio River and shoot across. They stand in Bloomington and shake their fists at the people of Lexington; they threaten South Carolina from Chicago. And they call that bravery! But they are very particular, as Mr. Lincoln says, not to enter into those States for the purpose of interfering with the institution of Slavery there. I am not only opposed to entering into the Slave States, for the purpose of interfering with their institutions, but I am opposed to a sectional agitation to control the institutions of other States. I am opposed to organizing a sectional party, which appeals to Northern pride, and Northern passion and prejudice, against Southern institutions, thus stirring up ill feeling and hot blood between brethren of the same Republic. I am opposed to that whole system of sectional agitation, which can produce nothing but strife, but discord, but hostility, and finally disunion. * * *
"I ask Mr. Lincoln how it is that he purposes ultimately to bring about this uniformity in each and all the States of the Union? There is but one possible mode which I can see, and perhaps Mr. Lincoln intends to pursue it; that is, to introduce a proposition into the Senate to change the Constitution of the United States in order that all the State Legislatures may be abolished, State Sovereignty blotted out, and the power conferred upon Congress to make local laws and establish the domestic institutions and police regulations uniformly throughout the United States.
"Are you prepared for such a change in the institutions of your country? Whenever you shall have blotted out the State Sovereignties, abolished the State Legislatures, and consolidated all the power in the Federal Government, you will have established a Consolidated Empire as destructive to the Liberties of the People and the Rights of the Citizen as that of Austria, or Russia, or any other despotism that rests upon the neck of the People. * * * There is but one possible way in which Slavery can be abolished, and that is by leaving a State, according to the principle of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, perfectly free to form and regulate its institutions in its own way. That was the principle upon which this Republic was founded, and it is under the operation of that principle that we have been able to preserve the Union thus far under its operation. Slavery disappeared from New Hampshire, from Rhode Island, from Connecticut, from New York, from New Jersey, from Pennsylvania, from six of the twelve original Slave-holding States; and this gradual system of emancipation went on quietly, peacefully, and steadily, so long as we in the Free States minded our own business, and left our neighbors alone.
"But the moment the Abolition Societies were organized throughout the North, preaching a violent crusade against Slavery in the Southern States, this combination necessarily caused a counter-combination in the South, and a sectional line was drawn which was a barrier to any further emancipation. Bear in mind that emancipation has not taken place in any one State since the Free Soil Party was organized as a political party in this country. Emancipation went on gradually, in State after State, so long as the Free States were content with managing their own affairs and leaving the South perfectly free to do as they pleased; but the moment the North said we are powerful enough to control you of the South, the moment the North proclaimed itself the determined master of the South, that moment the South combined to resist the attack, and thus sectional parties were formed and gradual emancipation ceased in all the Slave-holding States.
"And yet Mr. Lincoln, in view of these historical facts, proposes to keep up this sectional agitation, band all the Northern States together in one political Party, elect a President by Northern votes alone, and then, of course, make a Cabinet composed of Northern men, and administer the Government by Northern men only, denying all the Southern States of this Union any participation in the administration of affairs whatsoever. I submit to you, my fellow-citizens, whether such a line of policy is consistent with the peace and harmony of the Country? Can the Union endure under such a system of policy? He has taken his position in favor of sectional agitation and sectional warfare. I have taken mine in favor of securing peace, harmony, and good-will among all the States, by permitting each to mind its own business, and discountenancing any attempt at interference on the part of one State with the domestic concerns of the others. * * *
"Mr. Lincoln tells you that he is opposed to the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case. Well, suppose he is; what is he going to do about it? * * * Why, he says he is going to appeal to Congress. Let us see how he will appeal to Congress. He tells us that on the 8th of March, 1820, Congress passed a law called the Missouri Compromise, prohibiting Slavery forever in all the territory west of the Mississippi and north of the Missouri line of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes; that Dred Scott, a slave in Missouri, was taken by his master to Fort Snelling, in the present State of Minnesota, situated on the west branch of the Mississippi River, and consequently in the Territory where Slavery was prohibited by the Act of 1820; and that when Dred Scott appealed for his Freedom in consequence of having been taken into that Territory, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that Dred Scott did not become Free by being taken into that Territory, but that having been carried back to Missouri, was yet a Slave.
"Mr. Lincoln is going to appeal from that decision and reverse it. He does not intend to reverse it as to Dred Scott. Oh, no! But he will reverse it so that it shall not stand as a rule in the future. How will he do it? He says that if he is elected to the Senate he will introduce and pass a law just like the Missouri Compromise, prohibiting Slavery again in all the Territories. Suppose he does re-enact the same law which the Court has pronounced unconstitutional, will that make it Constitutional? * * * Will it be any more valid? Will he be able to convince the Court that the second Act is valid, when the first is invalid and void? What good does it do to pass a second Act? Why, it will have the effect to arraign the Supreme Court before the People, and to bring them into all the political discussions of the Country. Will that do any good? * * *
"The functions of Congress are to enact the Statutes, the province of the Court is to pronounce upon their validity, and the duty of the Executive is to carry the decision into effect when rendered by the Court. And yet, notwithstanding the Constitution makes the decision of the Court final in regard to the validity of an Act of Congress, Mr. Lincoln is going to reverse that decision by passing another Act of Congress. When he has become convinced of the Folly of the proposition, perhaps he will resort to the same subterfuge that I have found others of his Party resort to, which is to agitate and agitate until he can change the Supreme Court and put other men in the places of the present incumbents."
After ridiculing this proposition at some length, he proceeded:
"Mr. Lincoln is alarmed for fear that, under the Dred Scott decision, Slavery will go into all the Territories of the United States. All I have to say is that, with or without this decision, Slavery will go just where the People want it, and not an inch further. * * * Hence, if the People of a Territory want Slavery, they will encourage it by passing affirmatory laws, and the necessary police regulations, patrol laws and Slave Code; if they do not want it, they will withhold that legislation, and, by withholding it, Slavery is as dead as if it was prohibited by a Constitutional prohibition, especially if, in addition, their legislation is unfriendly, as it would be if they were opposed to it."
Then, taking up what he said was "Mr. Lincoln's main objection to the Dred Scott decision," to wit: "that that decision deprives the Negro of the benefits of that clause of the Constitution of the United States which entitles the citizens of each State to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States," and admitting that such would be its effect, Mr. Douglas contended at some length that this Government was "founded on the White basis" for the benefit of the Whites and their posterity. He did "not believe that it was the design or intention of the signers of the Declaration of Independence or the frames of the Constitution to include Negroes, Indians, or other inferior races, with White men as citizens;" nor that the former "had any reference to Negroes, when they used the expression that all men were created equal," nor to "any other inferior race." He held that, "They were speaking only of the White race, and never dreamed that their language would be construed to apply to the Negro;" and after ridiculing the contrary view, insisted that, "The history of the Country shows that neither the signers of the Declaration, nor the Framers of the Constitution, ever supposed it possible that their language would be used in an attempt to make this Nation a mixed Nation of Indians, Negroes, Whites, and Mongrels."
The "Fathers proceeded on the White basis, making the White people the governing race, but conceding to the Indian and Negro, and all inferior races, all the rights and all the privileges they could enjoy consistent with the safety of the society in which they lived. That," said he, "is my opinion now. I told you that humanity, philanthropy, justice, and sound policy required that we should give the Negro every right, every privilege, every immunity consistent with the safety and welfare of the State. The question, then, naturally arises, what are those rights and privileges, and what is the nature and extent of them? My answer is, that that is a question which each State and each Territory must decide for itself. * * * I am content with that position. My friend Lincoln is not. * * * He thinks that the Almighty made the Negro his equal and his brother. For my part I do not consider the Negro any kin to me, nor to any other White man; but I would still carry my humanity and my philanthropy to the extent of giving him every privilege and every immunity that he could enjoy, consistent with our own good."
After again referring to the principles connected with non-interference in the domestic institutions of the States and Territories, and to the devotion of all his energies to them "since 1850, when," said he, "I acted side by side with the immortal Clay and the god-like Webster, in that memorable struggle in which Whigs and Democrats united upon a common platform of patriotism and the Constitution, throwing aside partisan feelings in order to restore peace and harmony to a distracted Country"—he alluded to the death-bed of Clay, and the pledges made by himself to both Clay and Webster to devote his own life to the vindication of the principles of that Compromise of 1850 as a means of preserving the Union; and concluded with this appeal: "This Union can only be preserved by maintaining the fraternal feeling between the North and the South, the East and the West. If that good feeling can be preserved, the Union will be as perpetual as the fame of its great founders. It can be maintained by preserving the sovereignty of the States, the right of each State and each Territory to settle its domestic concerns for itself, and the duty of each to refrain from interfering with the other in any of its local or domestic institutions. Let that be done, and the Union will be perpetual; let that be done, and this Republic, which began with thirteen States and which now numbers thirty-two, which when it began, only extended from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, but now reaches to the Pacific, may yet expand, North and South, until it covers the whole Continent, and becomes one vast ocean-bound Confederacy. Then, my friends, the path of duty, of honor, of patriotism, is plain. There are a few simple principles to be preserved. Bear in mind the dividing line between State rights and Federal authority; let us maintain the great principles of Popular Sovereignty, of State rights and of the Federal Union as the Constitution has made it, and this Republic will endure forever."
On the next evening, July 17th, at Springfield, both Douglas and Lincoln addressed separate meetings.
After covering much the same ground with regard to the history of the Kansas-Nebraska struggle and his own attitude upon it, as he did in his previous speech, Mr. Douglas declined to comment upon Mr. Lincoln's intimation of a Conspiracy between Douglas, Pierce, Buchanan, and Taney for the passage of the Nebraska Bill, the rendition of the Dred Scott decision, and the extension of Slavery, but proceeded to dilate on the "uniformity" issue between himself and Mr. Lincoln, in much the same strain as before, tersely summing up with the statement that "there is a distinct issue of principles—principles irreconcilable—between Mr. Lincoln and myself. He goes for consolidation and uniformity in our Government. I go for maintaining the Confederation of the Sovereign States under the Constitution, as our fathers made it, leaving each State at liberty to manage its own affairs and own internal institutions."
He then ridiculed, at considerable length, Mr. Lincoln's proposed methods of securing a reversal by the United States Supreme Court of the Dred Scott decision—especially that of an "appeal to the People to elect a President who will appoint judges who will reverse the Dred Scott decision," which he characterized as "a proposition to make that Court the corrupt, unscrupulous tool of a political party," and asked, "when we refuse to abide by Judicial decisions, what protection is there left for life and property? To whom shall you appeal? To mob law, to partisan caucuses, to town meetings, to revolution? Where is the remedy when you refuse obedience to the constituted authorities?" In other respects the speech was largely a repetition of his Bloomington speech.
Mr. Lincoln in his speech, the same night, at Springfield, opened by contrasting the disadvantages under which, by reason of an unfair apportionment of State Legislative representation and otherwise, the Republicans of Illinois labored in this fight. Among other disadvantages—whereby he said the Republicans were forced "to fight this battle upon principle and upon principle alone"—were those which he said arose "out of the relative positions of the two persons who stand before the State as candidates for the Senate."
Said he: "Senator Douglas is of world-wide renown. All the anxious politicians of his Party, or who have been of his Party for years past, have been looking upon him as certainly, at no distant day, to be the President of the United States. They have seen in his round, jolly, fruitful face, Post-offices, Land-offices, Marshalships, and Cabinet appointments, Chargeships and Foreign Missions, bursting and sprouting out in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid hold of by their greedy hands. And as they have been gazing upon this attractive picture so long, they cannot, in the little distraction that has taken place in the party, bring themselves to give up the charming hope; but with greedier anxiety they rush about him, sustain him, and give him marches, triumphal entries, and receptions, beyond what even in the days of his highest prosperity they could have brought about in his favor. On the contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor, lean, lank face, nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting out."
Then he described the main points of Senator Douglas's plan of campaign as being not very numerous. "The first," he said, "is Popular Sovereignty. The second and third are attacks upon my speech made on the 16th of June. Out of these three points-drawing within the range of Popular Sovereignty the question of the Lecompton Constitution—he makes his principal assault. Upon these his successive speeches are substantially one and the same." Touching the first point, "Popular Sovereignty"—"the great staple" of Mr. Douglas's campaign—Mr. Lincoln affirmed that it was "the most arrant Quixotism that was ever enacted before a community."
He said that everybody understood that "we have not been in a controversy about the right of a People to govern themselves in the ordinary matters of domestic concern in the States and Territories;" that, "in this controversy, whatever has been said has had reference to the question of Negro Slavery;" and "hence," said he, "when hereafter I speak of Popular Sovereignty, I wish to be understood as applying what I say to the question of Slavery only; not to other minor domestic matters of a Territory or a State."
Having cleared away the cobwebs, Mr. Lincoln proceeded:
"Does Judge Douglas, when he says that several of the past years of his life have been devoted to the question of 'Popular Sovereignty' * * * mean to say that he has been devoting his life to securing the People of the Territories the right to exclude Slavery from the Territories? If he means so to say, he means to deceive; because he and every one knows that the decision of the Supreme Court, which he approves, and makes special ground of attack upon me for disapproving, forbids the People of a Territory to exclude Slavery.
"This covers the whole ground from the settlement of a Territory till it reaches the degree of maturity entitling it to form a State Constitution. * * * This being so, the period of time from the first settlement of a Territory till it reaches the point of forming a State Constitution, is not the thing that the Judge has fought for, or is fighting for; but, on the contrary, he has fought for, and is fighting for, the thing that annihilates and crushes out that same Popular Sovereignty. Well, so much being disposed of, what is left? Why, he is contending for the right of the People, when they come to make a State Constitution, to make it for themselves, and precisely as best suits themselves. I say again, that is Quixotic. I defy contradiction when I declare that the Judge can find no one to oppose him on that proposition. I repeat, there is nobody opposing that proposition on principle. * * * Nobody is opposing, or has opposed, the right of the People when they form a State Constitution, to form it for themselves. Mr. Buchanan and his friends have not done it; they, too, as well as the Republicans and the Anti-Lecompton Democrats, have not done it; but on the contrary, they together have insisted on the right of the People to form a Constitution for themselves. The difference between the Buchanan men, on the one hand, and the Douglas men and the Republicans, on the other, has not been on a question of principle, but on a question of fact * * * whether the Lecompton Constitution had been fairly formed by the People or not. * * * As to the principle, all were agreed.
"Judge Douglas voted with the Republicans upon that matter of fact. He and they, by their voices and votes, denied that it was a fair emanation of the People. The Administration affirmed that it was. * * * This being so, what is Judge Douglas going to spend his life for? Is he going to spend his life in maintaining a principle that no body on earth opposes? Does he expect to stand up in majestic dignity and go through his apotheosis and become a god, in the maintaining of a principle which neither man nor mouse in all God's creation is opposing?"
After ridiculing the assumption that Judge Douglas was entitled to all the credit for the defeat of the Lecompton Constitution in the House of Representatives—when the defeating vote numbered 120, of which 6 were Americans, 20 Douglas (or Anti-Lecompton) Democrats, and 94 Republicans —and hinting that perhaps he placed "his superior claim to credit, on the ground that he performed a good act which was never expected of him," or "upon the ground of the parable of the lost sheep," of which it had been said, "that there was more rejoicing over the one sheep that was lost and had been found, than over the ninety and nine in the fold —" he added: "The application is made by the Saviour in this parable, thus: 'Verily, I say unto you, there is more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance.' And now if the Judge claims the benefit of this parable, let him repent. Let him not come up here and say: 'I am the only just person; and you are the ninety-nine sinners!' Repentance before forgiveness is a provision of the Christian system, and on that condition alone will the Republicans grant his forgiveness."
After complaining that Judge Douglas misrepresented his attitude as indicated in his 16th of June speech at Springfield, in charging that he invited "a War of Sections;"—that he proposed that "all the local institutions of the different States shall become consolidated and uniform," Mr. Lincoln denied that that speech could fairly bear such construction.
In that speech he (Mr. L.) had simply expressed an expectation that "either the opponents of Slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South." Since then, at Chicago, he had also expressed a "wish to see the spread of Slavery arrested, and to see it placed where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction"—and, said he: "I said that, because I supposed, when the public mind shall rest in that belief, we shall have Peace on the Slavery question. I have believed—and now believe—the public mind did rest on that belief up to the introduction of the Nebraska Bill. Although I have ever been opposed to Slavery, so far I rested in the hope and belief that it was in the course of ultimate extinction. For that reason, it had been a minor question with me. I might have been mistaken; but I had believed, and now believe, that the whole public mind, that is, the mind of the great majority, had rested in that belief up to the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise. But upon that event, I became convinced that either I had been resting in a delusion, or the institution was being placed on a new basis—a basis for making it Perpetual, National, and Universal. Subsequent events have greatly confirmed me in that belief.
"I believe that Bill to be the beginning of a Conspiracy for that purpose. So believing, I have since then considered that question a paramount one. So believing, I thought the public mind would never rest till the power of Congress to restrict the spread of it shall again be acknowledged and exercised on the one hand, or, on the other, all resistance be entirely crushed out. I have expressed that opinion and I entertain it to-night."
Having given some pieces of evidence in proof of the "tendency," he had discovered, to the Nationalization of Slavery in these States, Mr. Lincoln continued: "And now, as to the Judge's inference, that because I wish to see Slavery placed in the course of ultimate extinction—placed where our fathers originally placed it—I wish to annihilate the State Legislatures—to force cotton to grow upon the tops of the Green Mountains—to freeze ice in Florida—to cut lumber on the broad Illinois prairies—that I am in favor of all these ridiculous and impossible things! It seems to me it is a complete answer to all this, to ask if, when Congress did have the fashion of restricting Slavery from Free Territory; when Courts did have the fashion of deciding that taking a Slave into a Free, Country made him Free—I say it is a sufficient answer to ask, if any of this ridiculous nonsense, about consolidation and uniformity, did actually follow? Who heard of any such thing, because of the Ordinance of '87? because of the Missouri Restriction because of the numerous Court decisions of that character?
"Now, as to the Dred Scott decision; for upon that he makes his last point at me. He boldly takes ground in favor of that decision. This is one-half the onslaught and one-third of the entire plan of the campaign. I am opposed to that decision in a certain sense, but not in the sense which he puts on it. I say that in so far as it decided in favor of Dred Scott's master, and against Dred Scott and his family, I do not propose to disturb or resist the decision. I never have proposed to do any such thing. I think, that in respect for judicial authority, my humble history would not suffer in comparison with that of Judge Douglas. He would have the citizen conform his vote to that decision; the member of Congress, his; the President, his use of the veto power. He would make it a rule of political action for the People and all the departments of the Government. I would not. By resisting it as a political rule, I disturb no right of property, create no disorder, excite no mobs."
After quoting from a letter of Mr. Jefferson (vol. vii., p. 177, of his Correspondence,) in which he held that "to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all Constitutional questions," is "a very dangerous doctrine indeed; and one which would place us under the despotism of an Oligarchy," Mr. Lincoln continued: "Let us go a little further. You remember we once had a National Bank. Some one owed the Bank a debt; he was sued, and sought to avoid payment on the ground that the Bank was unconstitutional. The case went to the Supreme Court, and therein it was decided that the Bank was Constitutional. The whole Democratic party revolted against that decision. General Jackson himself asserted that he, as President, would not be bound to hold a National Bank to be Constitutional, even though the Court had decided it to be so. He fell in, precisely, with the view of Mr. Jefferson, and acted upon it under his official oath, in vetoing a charter for a National Bank.
"The declaration that Congress does not possess this Constitutional power to charter a Bank, has gone into the Democratic platform, at their National Conventions, and was brought forward and reaffirmed in their last Convention at Cincinnati. They have contended for that declaration, in the very teeth of the Supreme Court, for more than a quarter of a century. In fact, they have reduced the decision to an absolute nullity. That decision, I repeat, is repudiated in the Cincinnati platform; and still, as if to show that effrontery can go no further, Judge Douglas vaunts in the very speeches in which he denounces me for opposing the Dred Scott decision, that he stands on the Cincinnati platform.
"Now, I wish to know what the Judge can charge upon me, with respect to decisions of the Supreme Court, which does not lie in all its length, breadth, and proportions, at his own door? The plain truth is simply this: Judge Douglas is for Supreme Court decisions when he likes, and against them when he does not like them. He is for the Dred Scott decision because it tends to Nationalize Slavery—because it is a part of the original combination for that object. It so happens, singularly enough, that I never stood opposed to a decision of the Supreme Court till this. On the contrary, I have no recollection that he was ever particularly in favor of one till this. He never was in favor of any, nor (I) opposed to any, till the present one, which helps to Nationalize Slavery. Free men of Sangamon—Free men of Illinois, Free men everywhere—judge ye between him and me, upon this issue!
"He says this Dred Scott case is a very small matter at most—that it has no practical effect; that at best, or rather I suppose at worst, it is but an abstraction. * * * How has the planting of Slavery in new countries always been effected? It has now been decided that Slavery cannot be kept out of our new Territories by any legal means. In what do our new Territories now differ in this respect from the old Colonies when Slavery was first planted within them?
"It was planted, as Mr. Clay once declared, and as history proves true, by individual men in spite of the wishes of the people; the Mother-Government refusing to prohibit it, and withholding from the People of the Colonies the authority to prohibit it for themselves. Mr. Clay says this was one of the great and just causes of complaint against Great Britain by the Colonies, and the best apology we can now make for having the institution amongst us. In that precise condition our Nebraska politicians have at last succeeded in placing our own new Territories; the Government will not prohibit Slavery within them, nor allow the People to prohibit it."
Alluding to that part of Mr. Douglas's speech the previous night touching the death-bed scene of Mr. Clay, with Mr. Douglas's promise to devote the remainder of his life to "Popular Sovereignty"—and to his relations with Mr. Webster—Mr. Lincoln said: "It would be amusing, if it were not disgusting, to see how quick these Compromise breakers administer on the political effects of their dead adversaries. If I should be found dead to-morrow morning, nothing but my insignificance could prevent a speech being made on my authority, before the end of next week. It so happens that in that 'Popular Sovereignty' with which Mr. Clay was identified, the Missouri Compromise was expressly reserved; and it was a little singular if Mr. Clay cast his mantle upon Judge Douglas on purpose to have that Compromise repealed. Again, the Judge did not keep faith with Mr. Clay when he first brought in the Nebraska Bill. He left the Missouri Compromise unrepealed, and in his report accompanying the Bill, he told the World he did it on purpose. The manes of Mr. Clay must have been in great agony, till thirty days later, when 'Popular Sovereignty' stood forth in all its glory."
Touching Mr. Douglas's allegations of Mr. Lincoln's disposition to make Negroes equal with the Whites, socially and politically, the latter said: "My declarations upon this subject of Negro Slavery may be misrepresented, but cannot be misunderstood. I have said that I do not understand the Declaration (of Independence) to mean that all men were created equal in all respects. They are not equal in color; but I suppose that it does mean to declare that all men are equal in some respects; they are equal in their right to 'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.' Certainly the Negro is not our equal in color —perhaps not in many other respects; still, in the right to put into his mouth the bread that his own hands have earned, he is the equal of every other man, White or Black. In pointing out that more has been given you, you cannot be justified in taking away the little which has been given him. All I ask for the Negro is that if you do not like him, let him alone. If God gave him but little, that little let him enjoy.
"The framers of the Constitution," continued Mr. Lincoln, "found the institution of Slavery amongst their other institutions at the time. They found that by an effort to eradicate it, they might lose much of what they had already gained. They were obliged to bow to the necessity. They gave Congress power to abolish the Slave Trade at the end of twenty years. They also prohibited it in the Territories where it did not exist. They did what they could, and yielded to the necessity for the rest. I also yield to all which follows from that necessity. What I would most desire would be the separation of the White and Black races."
Mr. Lincoln closed his speech by referring to the "New Departure" of the Democracy—to the charge he had made, in his 16th of June speech, touching "the existence of a Conspiracy to Perpetuate and Nationalize Slavery"—which Mr. Douglas had not contradicted—and, said he, "on his own tacit admission I renew that charge. I charge him with having been a party to that Conspiracy, and to that deception, for the sole purpose of Nationalizing Slavery."
This closed the series of preliminary speeches in the canvass. But they only served to whet the moral and intellectual and political appetite of the public for more. It was generally conceded that, at last, in the person of Mr. Lincoln, the "Little Giant" had met his match.
On July 24, Mr. Lincoln opened a correspondence with Mr. Douglas, which eventuated in an agreement between them, July 31st, for joint-discussions, to take place at Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburgh, Quincy, and Alton, on fixed dates in August, September and October—at Ottawa, Mr. Douglas to open and speak one hour, Mr. Lincoln to have an hour and a half in reply, and Mr. Douglas to close in a half hour's speech; at Freeport, Mr. Lincoln to open and speak for one hour, Mr. Douglas to take the next hour and a half in reply, and Mr. Lincoln to have the next half hour to close; and so on, alternating at each successive place, making twenty-one hours of joint political debate.
To these absorbingly interesting discussions, vast assemblages listened with breathless attention; and to the credit of all parties be it said, with unparalleled decorum. The People evidently felt that the greatest of all political principles—that of Human Liberty—was hanging on the issue of this great political contest between intellectual giants, thus openly waged before the World—and they accordingly rose to the dignity and solemnity of the occasion, vindicating by their very example the sacredness with which the Right of Free Speech should be regarded at all times and everywhere.
THE PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST OF 1860 THE CRISIS APPROACHING.
The immediate outcome of the remarkable joint-debate between the two intellectual giants of Illinois was, that while the popular vote stood 124,698 for Lincoln, to 121,130 for Douglas—showing a victory for Lincoln among the People—yet, enough Douglas-Democrats were elected to the Legislature, when added to those of his friends in the Illinois Senate, who had been elected two years before, and "held over," to give him, in all, 54 members of both branches of the Legislature on joint ballot, against 46 for Mr. Lincoln. Lincoln had carried the people, but Douglas had secured the Senatorial prize for which they had striven—and by that Legislative vote was elected to succeed himself in the United States Senate. This result was trumpeted throughout the Union as a great Douglas victory.
During the canvass of Illinois, Douglas's friends had seen to it that nothing on their part should be wanting to secure success. What with special car trains, and weighty deputations, and imposing processions, and flag raisings, the inspiration of music, the booming of cannon, and the eager shouts of an enthusiastic populace, his political journey through Illinois had been more like a Royal Progress than anything the Country had yet seen; and now that his reelection was accomplished, they proposed to make the most of it—to extend, as it were, the sphere of his triumph, or vindication, so that it would include not the State alone, but the Nation—and thus so accentuate and enhance his availability as a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination of 1860, as to make his nomination and election to the Presidency of the United States an almost foregone conclusion.
The programme was to raise so great a popular tidal-wave in his interest, as would bear him irresistibly upon its crest to the White House. Accordingly, as the idol of the Democratic popular heart, Douglas, upon his return to the National Capital, was triumphantly received by the chief cities of the Mississippi and the Atlantic sea-board. Hailed as victor in the great political contest in Illinois —upon the extended newspaper reports of which, the absorbed eyes of the entire nation, for months, had greedily fed—Douglas was received with much ostentation and immense enthusiasm at St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. Like the "Triumphs" decreed by Rome, in her grandest days, to the greatest of her victorious heroes, Douglas's return was a series of magnificent popular ovations.
In a speech made two years before this period, Mr. Lincoln, while contrasting his own political career with that of Douglas, and modestly describing his own as "a flat failure" had said: "With him it has been one of splendid success. His name fills the Nation, and is not unknown even in foreign lands. I affect no contempt for the high eminence he has reached. So reached, that the oppressed of my species might have shared with me in the elevation, I would rather stand on that eminence than wear the richest crown that ever pressed a monarch's brow." And now the star of Douglas had reached a higher altitude, nearing its meridian splendor. He had become the popular idol of the day.
But Douglas's partial victory—if such it was—so far from settling the public mind and public conscience, had the contrary effect. It added to the ferment which the Pro-Slavery Oligarchists of the South—and especially those of South Carolina—were intent upon increasing, until so grave and serious a crisis should arrive as would, in their opinion, furnish a justifiable pretext in the eyes of the World for the contemplated Secession of the Slave States from the Union.
Under the inspiration of the Slave Power, and in the direct line of the Dred Scott decision, and of the "victorious" doctrine of Senator Douglas, which he held not inconsistent therewith, that the people of any Territory of the United States could do as they pleased as to the institution of Slavery within their own limits, and if they desired the institution, they had the right by local legislation to "protect and encourage it," the Legislature of the Territory of New Mexico at once (1859) proceeded to enact a law "for the protection of property in Slaves," and other measures similar to the prevailing Slave Codes in the Southern States.
The aggressive attitude of the South—as thus evidenced anew—naturally stirred, to their very core, the Abolition elements of the North; on the other hand, the publication of Hinton Rowan Helper's "Impending Crisis," which handled the Slavery question without gloves, and supported its views with statistics which startled the Northern mind, together with its alleged indorsement by the leading Republicans of the North, exasperated the fiery Southrons to an intense degree. Nor was the capture, in October, 1859, of Harper's Ferry, Virginia, by John Brown and his handful of Northern Abolitionist followers, and his subsequent execution in Virginia, calculated to allay the rapidly intensifying feeling between the Freedom-loving North and the Slaveholding South. When, therefore, the Congress met, in December, 1859, the sectional wrath of the Country was reflected in the proceedings of both branches of that body, and these again reacted upon the People of both the Northern and Southern States, until the fires of Slavery Agitation were stirred to a white heat.
The bitterness of feeling in the House at this time, was shown, in part, by the fact that not until the 1st of February, 1860, was it able, upon a forty-fourth ballot, to organize by the election of a Speaker, and that from the day of its meeting on the 5th of December, 1859, up to such organization, it was involved in an incessant and stormy wrangle upon the Slavery question.
So also in the Democratic Senate, the split in the Democratic Party, between the Lecompton and Anti-Lecompton Democracy, was widened, at the same time that the Republicans of the North were further irritated, by the significantly decisive passage of a series of resolutions proposed by Jefferson Davis, which, on the one hand, purposely and deliberately knifed Douglas's "Popular Sovereignty" doctrine and read out of the Party all who believed in it, by declaring "That neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature, whether by direct legislation, or legislation of an indirect and unfriendly character, possesses power to annul or impair the Constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to take his Slave-property into the common Territories, and there hold and enjoy the same while the Territorial condition remains," and, on the other, purposely and deliberately slapped in the face the Republicans of the North, by declaring-among other things "That in the adoption of the Federal Constitution, the States adopting the same, acted severally as Free and Independent sovereignties, delegating a portion of their powers to be exercised by the Federal Government for the increased security of each against dangers, domestic as well as foreign; and that any intermeddling by any one or more States or by a combination of their citizens, with the domestic institutions of the others, on any pretext whatever, political, moral, or religious, with a view to their disturbance or subversion, is in violation of the Constitution, insulting to the States so interfered with, endangers their domestic peace and tranquillity—objects for which the Constitution was formed —and, by necessary consequence, tends to weaken and destroy the Union itself."
Another of these resolutions declared Negro Slavery to be recognized in the Constitution, and that all "open or covert attacks thereon with a view to its overthrow," made either by the Non-Slave-holding States or their citizens, violated the pledges of the Constitution, "are a manifest breach of faith, and a violation of the most solemn obligations."
This last was intended as a blow at the Freedom of Speech and of the Press in the North; and only served, as was doubtless intended, to still more inflame Northern public feeling, while at the same time endeavoring to place the arrogant and aggressive Slave Power in an attitude of injured innocence. In short, the time of both Houses of Congress was almost entirely consumed during the Session of 1859-60 in the heated, and sometimes even furious, discussion of the Slavery question; and everywhere, North and South, the public mind was not alone deeply agitated, but apprehensive that the Union was founded not upon a rock, but upon the crater of a volcano, whose long-smouldering energies might at any moment burst their confines, and reduce it to ruin and desolation.
On the 23rd of April, 1860, the Democratic National Convention met at Charleston, South Carolina. It was several days after the permanent organization of the Convention before the Committee on Resolutions reported to the main body, and not until the 30th of April did it reach a vote upon the various reports, which had in the meantime been modified. The propositions voted upon were three:
First, The Majority Report of the Committee, which reaffirmed the Cincinnati platform of 1856—with certain "explanatory" resolutions added, which boldly proclaimed: "That the Government of a Territory organized by an Act of Congress, is provisional and temporary; and, during its existence, all citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territory, without their rights, either of person or property, being destroyed or impaired by Congressional or Territorial Legislation;" that "it is the duty of the Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect, when necessary, the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else its Constitutional authority extends;" that "when the settlers in a Territory, having an adequate population, form a State Constitution, the right of Sovereignty commences, and, being consummated by admission into the Union, they stand on an equal footing with the people of other States, and the State thus organized ought to be admitted into the Federal Union, whether its Constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of Slavery;" and that "the enactments of State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in effect." The resolutions also included a declaration in favor of the acquisition of Cuba, and other comparatively minor matters.
Second, The Minority Report of the Committee, which, after re-affirming the Cincinnati platform, declared that "Inasmuch as differences of opinion exist in the Democratic party as to the nature and extent of the powers of a Territorial Legislature, and as to the powers and duties of Congress, under the Constitution of the United States, over the institution of Slavery within the Territories * * * the Democratic Party will abide by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States on the questions of Constitutional law."
Third, The recommendation of Benjamin F. Butler, that the platform should consist simply of a re-affirmation of the Cincinnati platform, and not another word.
The last proposition was first voted on, and lost, by 105 yeas to 198 nays. The Minority platform was then adopted by 165 yeas to 138 nays.
The aggressive Slave-holders (Majority) platform, and the Butler Compromise do-nothing proposition, being both defeated, and the Douglas (Minority) platform adopted, the Alabama delegation, under instructions from their State Convention to withdraw in case the National Convention refused to adopt radical Territorial Pro-Slavery resolutions, at once presented a written protest and withdrew from the Convention, and were followed, in rapid succession, by; the delegates from Mississippi, Louisiana (all but two), South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Arkansas (in part), Delaware (mostly), and Georgia (mostly)—the seceding delegates afterwards organizing in another Hall, adopting the above Majority platform, and after a four days' sitting, adjourning to meet at Richmond, Virginia, on the 11th of June.
Meanwhile, the Regular Democratic National Convention had proceeded to ballot for President—after adopting the two-thirds rule. Thirty-seven ballots having been cast, that for Stephen A. Douglas being, on the thirty-seventh, 151, the Convention, on the 3d of May, adjourned to meet again at Baltimore, June 18th.
After re-assembling, and settling contested election cases, the delegates (in whole or in part) from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, California, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Massachusetts, withdrew from the Convention, the latter upon the ground mainly that there had been "a withdrawal, in part, of a majority of the States," while Butler, who had voted steadily for Jefferson Davis throughout all the balloting at Charleston, gave as an additional ground personal to himself, that "I will not sit in a convention where the African Slave Trade—which is piracy by the laws of my Country—is approvingly advocated"—referring thereby to a speech, that had been much applauded by the Convention at Charleston, made by a Georgia delegate (Gaulden), in which that delegate had said: "I would ask my friends of the South to come up in a proper spirit; ask our Northern friends to give us all our rights, and take off the ruthless restrictions which cut off the supply of Slaves from foreign lands. * * * I tell you, fellow Democrats, that the African Slave Trader is the true Union man (cheers and laughter). I tell you that the Slave Trading of Virginia is more immoral, more unchristian in every possible point of view, than that African Slave Trade which goes to Africa and brings a heathen and worthless man here, makes him a useful man, Christianizes him, and sends him and his posterity down the stream of Time, to enjoy the blessings of civilization. (Cheers and laughter.) * * * I come from the first Congressional District of Georgia. I represent the African Slave Trade interest of that Section. (Applause.) I am proud of the position I occupy in that respect. I believe that the African Slave Trader is a true missionary, and a true Christian. (Applause.) * * * Are you prepared to go back to first principles, and take off your unconstitutional restrictions, and leave this question to be settled by each State? Now, do this, fellow citizens, and you will have Peace in the Country. * * * I advocate the repeal of the laws prohibiting the African Slave Trade, because I believe it to be the true Union movement. * * * I believe that by re-opening this Trade and giving us Negroes to populate the Territories, the equilibrium of the two Sections will be maintained."
After the withdrawal of the bolting delegates at Baltimore, the Convention proceeded to ballot for President, and at the end of the second ballot, Mr. Douglas having received "two-thirds of all votes given in the Convention" (183) was declared the "regular nominee of the Democratic Party, for the office of President of the United States."
An additional resolution was subsequently adopted as a part of the platform, declaring that "it is in accordance with the true interpretation of the Cincinnati platform, that, during the existence of the Territorial Governments, the measure of restriction, whatever it may be, imposed by the Federal Constitution on the power of the Territorial Legislatures over the subject of the domestic relations, as the same has been, or shall hereafter be, finally determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, should be respected by all good citizens, and enforced with promptness and fidelity by every branch of the General Government."
On the 11th of June, pursuant to adjournment, the Democratic Bolters' Convention met at Richmond, and, after adjourning to meet at Baltimore, finally met there on the 28th of that month—twenty-one States being, in whole or in part, represented. This Convention unanimously readopted the Southern-wing platform it had previously adopted at Charleston, and, upon the first ballot, chose, without dissent, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, as its candidate for the Presidential office.
In the meantime, however, the National Conventions of other Parties had been held, viz.: that of the Republican Party at Chicago, which, with a session of three days, May 16-18, had nominated Abraham Lincoln of Illinois and Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, for President and Vice-President respectively; and that of the "Constitutional Union" (or Native American) Party which had severally nominated (May 19) for such positions, John Bell of Tennessee, and Edward Everett of Massachusetts.
The material portion of the Republican National platform, adopted with entire unanimity by their Convention, was, so far as the Slavery and Disunion questions were concerned, comprised in these declarations:
First, That the history of the nation, during the last four years, has fully established the propriety and necessity of the organization and perpetuation of the Republican Party; and that the causes which called it into existence are permanent in their nature, and now, more than ever before, demand its peaceful and Constitutional triumph.
Second, That the maintenance of the principle, promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, and embodied in the Federal Constitution, "that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," is essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the Rights of the States, and the Union of the States must and shall be preserved.
Third, That to the Union of the States, this Nation owes its unprecedented increase in population, its surprising development of material resources, its rapid augmentation of wealth, its happiness at home, and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for Disunion, come from whatever source they may: And we congratulate the Country that no Republican member of Congress has uttered or countenanced the threats of Disunion, so often made by Democratic members, without rebuke, and with applause, from their political associates; and we denounce those threats of Disunion, in case of a popular overthrow of their ascendancy, as denying the vital principles of a free Government, and as an avowal of contemplated Treason, which it is the imperative duty of an indignant People, sternly to rebuke and forever silence.
Fourth, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State, to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion, by armed force, of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.
Fifth, That the present Democratic Administration has far exceeded our worst apprehensions, in its measureless subserviency to the exactions of a Sectional interest, as especially evinced in its desperate exertions to force the infamous Lecompton Constitution upon the protesting people of Kansas; in construing the personal relation between master and servant to involve an unqualified property in persons; in its attempted enforcement, everywhere, on land and sea, through the intervention of Congress and of the Federal Courts, of the extreme pretensions of a purely local interest; and in its general and unvarying abuse of the power intrusted to it by a confiding People.
* * * * * * *
Seventh, That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries Slavery into any or all of the Territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislation and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency and subversive of the peace and harmony of the Country.
Eighth, That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of Freedom; that as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our National Territory, ordained that "No person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial Legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States.
Ninth, That we brand the recent re-opening of the African Slave-trade under the cover of our National flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our Country and Age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.
Tenth, That in the recent vetoes, by their Federal Governors, of the acts of the Legislatures of Kansas and Nebraska, prohibiting Slavery in those Territories, we find a practical illustration of the boasted Democratic principle of Non-Intervention and Popular Sovereignty embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and a demonstration of the deception and fraud involved therein.
Eleventh, That Kansas should, of right, be immediately admitted as a State, under the Constitution recently formed and adopted by the House of Representatives.
* * * * * * * * * *
The National platform of the "Constitutional Union" Party, was adopted, unanimously, in these words:
"Whereas, experience has demonstrated that platforms adopted by the partisan Conventions of the Country have had the effect to mislead and deceive the People, and at the same time to widen the political divisions of the Country, by the creation and encouragement of geographical and Sectional parties; therefore,
"Resolved, That it is both the part of patriotism and of duty to recognize no political principle other than the Constitution of the Country, the Union of the States, and the Enforcement of the Laws, and that, as representatives of the Constitutional Union men of the Country, in National Convention assembled, we hereby pledge ourselves to maintain, protect, and defend, separately and unitedly, these great principles of public liberty and national safety, against all enemies, at home and abroad; believing that thereby peace may once more be restored to the Country, the rights of the people and of the States re-established, and the Government again placed in that condition of justice, fraternity, and equality which, under the example and Constitution of our fathers, has solemnly bound every citizen of the United States to maintain a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."
Thus, by the last of June, 1860, the four National Parties with their platforms and candidates were all in the political field prepared for the onset.
Briefly, the attitude of the standard-bearers representing the platform-principles of their several Parties, was this:
Lincoln, representing the Republicans, held that Slavery is a wrong, to be tolerated in the States where it exists, but which must be excluded from the Territories, which are all normally Free and must be kept Free by Congressional legislation, if necessary; and that neither Congress, nor the Territorial Legislature, nor any individual, has power to give to it legal existence in such Territories.
Breckinridge, representing the Pro-Slavery wing of the Democracy, held that Slavery is a right, which, when transplanted from the Slave-States into the Territories, neither Congressional nor Territorial legislation can destroy or impair, but which, on the contrary, must, when necessary, be protected everywhere by Congress and all other departments of the Government.
Douglas, representing the Anti-Lecompton wing of Democracy, held that whether Slavery be right or wrong, the white inhabitants of the Territories have the sole right to determine whether it shall or shall not exist within their respective limits, subject to the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions thereon; and that neither Congress nor any State, nor any outside persons, must interfere with that right.
Bell, representing the remaining political elements, held that it was all wrong to have any principles at all, except "the Constitution of the Country, the Union of the States, and the Enforcement of the Laws"—a platform which Horace Greeley well described as "meaning anything in general, and nothing in particular."
The canvass that ensued was terribly exciting—Douglas alone, of all the Presidential candidates, bravely taking the field, both North and South, in person, in the hope that the magnetism of his personal presence and powerful intellect might win what, from the start—owing to the adverse machinations, in the Northern States, of the Administration or Breckinridge-Democratic wing—seemed an almost hopeless fight. In the South, the Democracy was almost a unit in opposition to Douglas, holding, as they did, that "Douglas Free-Soilism" was "far more dangerous to the South than the election of Lincoln; because it seeks to create a Free-Soil Party there; while, if Lincoln triumphs, the result cannot fail to be a South united in her own defense;" while the old Whig element of the South was as unitedly for Bell. In the North, the Democracy were split in twain, three-fourths of them upholding Douglas, and the balance, powerful beyond their numbers in the possession of Federal Offices, bitterly hostile to him, and anxious to beat him, even at the expense of securing the election of Lincoln.
Douglas's fight was that the candidacy and platform of Bell were meaningless, those of both Lincoln and Breckinridge, Sectional, and that he alone bore aloft the standard of the entire Union; while, on the other hand, the supporters of Lincoln, his chief antagonist, claimed that—as the burden of the song from the lips of Douglas men, Bell men, and Breckinridge men alike, was the expression of a "fear that," in the language of Mr. Seward, "if the people elected Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency, they would wake up and find that they had no Country for him to preside over"—"therefore, all three of the parties opposing Mr. Lincoln were in the same boat, and hence the only true Union party, was the party which made no threats of Disunion, to wit, the Republican party."
The October elections of 1860 made it plain that Mr. Lincoln would be elected. South Carolina began to "feel good" over the almost certainty that the pretext for Secession for which her leaders had been hoping in vain for thirty years, was at hand. On the 25th of October, at Augusta, South Carolina, the Governor, the Congressional delegation, and other leading South Carolinians, met, and decided that in the event of Mr. Lincoln's election, that State would secede. Similar meetings, to the same end, were also held about the same time, in others of the Southern States. On the 5th of November—the day before the Presidential election—the Legislature of South Carolina met at the special call of Governor Gist, and, having organized, received a Message from the Governor, in which, after stating that he had convened that Body in order that they might on the morrow "appoint the number of electors of President and Vice-President to which this State is entitled," he proceeded to suggest "that the Legislature remain in session, and take such action as will prepare the State for any emergency that may arise." He went on to "earnestly recommend that, in the event of Abraham Lincoln's election to the Presidency, a Convention of the people of this State be immediately called, to consider and determine for themselves the mode and measure of redress," and, he continued: "I am constrained to say that the only alternative left, in my judgment, is the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union. The indications from many of the Southern States justify the conclusion that the Secession of South Carolina will be immediately followed, if not adopted simultaneously, by them, and ultimately by the entire South. The long-desired cooperation of the other States having similar institutions, for which so many of our citizens have been waiting, seems to be near at hand; and, if we are true to ourselves, will soon be realized. The State has, with great unanimity declared that she has the right peaceably to Secede, and no power on earth can rightfully prevent it."
[Referring to the Ordinance of Nullification adopted by the people of South Carolina, November 24, 1832, growing out of the Tariff Act of 1832—wherein it was declared that, in the event of the Federal Government undertaking to enforce the provisions of that Act: "The people of this State will thenceforth hold themselves absolved from all further obligation to maintain or preserve their political connection with the people of the other States, and will forthwith proceed to organize a separate government, and do all other acts and things which Sovereign and independent States may of right do."]
He proceeded to say that "If, in the exercise of arbitrary power, and forgetful of the lessons of history, the Government of the United States should attempt coercion, it will become our solemn duty to meet force by force"—and promised that the decision of the aforesaid Convention "representing the Sovereignty of the State, and amenable to no earthly tribunal," should be, by him, "carried out to the letter." He recommended the thorough reorganization of the Militia; the arming of every man in the State between the ages of eighteen and forty-five; and the immediate enrollment of ten thousand volunteers officered by themselves; and concluded with a confident "appeal to the Disposer of all human events," in whose keeping the "Cause" was to be entrusted.
That same evening (November 5), being the eve of the election, at Augusta, South Carolina, in response to a serenade, United States Senator Chestnut made a speech of like import, in which, after predicting the election of Mr. Lincoln, he said: "Would the South submit to a Black Republican President, and a Black Republican Congress, which will claim the right to construe the Constitution of the Country, and administer the Government in their own hands, not by the law of the instrument itself, nor by that of the fathers of the Country, nor by the practices of those who administered seventy years ago, but by rules drawn from their own blind consciences and crazy brains? * * * The People now must choose whether they would be governed by enemies, or govern themselves."
He declared that the Secession of South Carolina was an "undoubted right," a "duty," and their "only safety" and as to himself, he would "unfurl the Palmetto flag, fling it to the breeze, and, with the spirit of a brave man, live and die as became" his "glorious ancestors, and ring the clarion notes of defiance in the ears of an insolent foe!"
So also, in Columbia, South Carolina, Representative Boyce of that State, and other prominent politicians, harangued an enthusiastic crowd that night—Mr. Boyce declaring: "I think the only policy for us is to arm, as soon as we receive authentic intelligence of the election of Lincoln. It is for South Carolina, in the quickest manner, and by the most direct means, to withdraw from the Union. Then we will not submit, whether the other Southern States will act with us or with our enemies. They cannot take sides with our enemies; they must take sides with us. When an ancient philosopher wished to inaugurate a great revolution, his motto was to dare! to dare!"
THE GREAT CONSPIRACY MATURING.
THE 6th of November, 1860, came and passed; on the 7th, the prevailing conviction that Lincoln would be elected had become a certainty, and before the close of that day, the fact had been heralded throughout the length and breadth of the Republic. The excitement of the People was unparalleled. The Republicans of the North rejoiced that at last the great wrong of Slavery was to be placed "where the People could rest in the belief that it was in the course of ultimate extinction!" The Douglas Democracy, naturally chagrined at the defeat of their great leader, were filled with gloomy forebodings touching the future of their Country; and the Southern Democracy, or at least a large portion of it, openly exulted that at last the long-wished-for opportunity for a revolt of the Slave Power, and a separation of the Slave from the Free States, was at hand. Especially in South Carolina were the "Fire-eating" Southrons jubilant over the event.
["South Carolina rejoiced over the election of Lincoln, with bonfires and processions." p. 172, Arnold's "Life of Abraham Lincoln."
"There was great joy in Charleston, and wherever 'Fire Eaters' most did congregate, on the morning of November 7th. Men rushed to shake hands and congratulate each other on the glad tidings of Lincoln's election. * * * Men thronged the streets, talking, laughing, cheering, like mariners long becalmed on a hateful, treacherous sea, whom a sudden breeze had swiftly wafted within sight of their longed-for haven." p. 332, vol. i., Greeley's American Conflict.]
Meanwhile any number of joint resolutions looking to the calling of a Secession Convention, were introduced in the South Carolina Legislature, sitting at Columbia, having in view Secession contingent upon the "cooperation" of the other Slave States, or looking to immediate and "unconditional" Secession.
On the evening of November 7th, Edmund Ruffin of Virginia—a Secession fanatic who had come from thence in hot haste—in response to a serenade, declared to the people of Columbia that: "The defense of the South, he verily believed, was only to be secured through the lead of South Carolina;" that, "old as he was, he had come here to join them in that lead;" and that "every day delayed, was a day lost to the Cause." He acknowledged that Virginia was "not as ready as South Carolina;" but declared that "The first drop of blood spilled on the soil of South Carolina would bring Virginia, and every Southern State, with them." He thought "it was perhaps better that Virginia, and all other border States, remain quiescent for a time, to serve as a guard against the North. * * * By remaining in the Union for a time, she would not only prevent coercive legislation in Congress, but any attempt for our subjugation."
That same evening came news that, at Charleston, the Grand Jury of the United States District Court had refused to make any presentments, because of the Presidential vote just cast, which, they said, had "swept away the last hope for the permanence, for the stability, of the Federal Government of these Sovereign States;" and that United States District Judge Magrath had resigned his office, saying to the Grand Jury, as he did so: "In the political history of the United States, an event has happened of ominous import to fifteen Slave-holding States. The State of which we are citizens has been always understood to have deliberately fixed its purpose whenever that event should happen. Feeling an assurance of what will be the action of the State, I consider it my duty, without delay, to prepare to obey its wishes. That preparation is made by the resignation of the office I have held."
The news of the resignations of the Federal Collector and District Attorney at Charleston, followed, with an intimation that that of the Sub-Treasurer would soon be forthcoming. On November 9th, a joint resolution calling an unconditional Secession Convention to meet at Columbia December 17th, was passed by the Senate, and on the 12th of November went through the House; and both of the United States Senators from South Carolina had now resigned their seats in the United States Senate.
Besides all these and many other incitements to Secession was the fact that at Milledgeville, Georgia, Governor Brown had, November 12th, addressed a Georgian Military Convention, affirming "the right of Secession, and the duty of other Southern States to sustain South Carolina in the step she was then taking," and declaring that he "would like to see Federal troops dare attempt the coercion of a seceding Southern State! For every Georgian who fell in a conflict thus incited, the lives of two Federal Soldiers should expiate the outrage on State Sovereignty"—and that the Convention aforesaid had most decisively given its voice for Secession.
It was about this time, however, that Alexander H. Stephens vainly sought to stem the tide of Secession in his own State, in a speech (November 14) before the Georgia Legislature, in which he declared that Mr. Lincoln "can do nothing unless he is backed by power in Congress. The House of Representatives is largely in the majority against him. In the Senate he will also be powerless. There will be a majority of four against him." He also cogently said: "Many of us have sworn to support it (the Constitution). Can we, therefore, for the mere election of a man to the Presidency—and that too, in accordance with the prescribed forms of the Constitution—make a point of resistance to the Government, and, without becoming the breakers of that sacred instrument ourselves, withdraw ourselves from it? Would we not be in the wrong?"
But the occasional words of wisdom that fell from the lips of the few far-seeing statesmen of the South, were as chaff before the storm of Disunion raised by the turbulent Fire-eaters, and were blown far from the South, where they might have done some good for the Union cause, away up to the North, where they contributed to aid the success of the contemplated Treason and Rebellion, by lulling many of the people there, into a false sense of security. Unfortunately, also, even the ablest of the Southern Union men were so tainted with the heretical doctrine of States-Rights, which taught the "paramount allegiance" of the citizen to the State, that their otherwise powerful appeals for the preservation of the Union were almost invariably handicapped by the added protestation that in any event—and however they might deplore the necessity—they would, if need be, go with their State, against their own convictions of duty to the National Union.
Hence in this same speech we find that Mr. Stephens destroyed the whole effect of his weighty and logical appeal against Secession from the Union, by adding to it, that, "Should Georgia determine to go out of the Union I shall bow to the will of her people. Their cause is my cause, and their destiny is my destiny; and I trust this will be the ultimate course of all."—and by further advising the calling of a Convention of the people to decide the matter; thus, in advance, as it were, binding himself hand and foot, despite his previous Union utterances, to do the fell bidding of the most rampant Disunionists. And thus, in due time, it befell, as we shall see, that this "saving clause" in his "Union speech," brought him at the end, not to that posture of patriotic heroism to which he aspired when he adjured his Georgian auditors to "let us be found to the last moment standing on the deck (of the Republic), with the Constitution of the United States waving over our heads," but to that of an imprisoned traitor and defeated rebel against the very Republic and Constitution which he had sworn to uphold and defend!
The action of the South Carolina Legislature in calling an Unconditional Secession Convention, acted among the Southern States like a spark in a train of gunpowder. Long accustomed to incendiary resolutions of Pro-Slavery political platforms, as embodying the creed of Southern men; committed by those declarations to the most extreme action when, in their judgment, the necessity should arise; and worked up during the Presidential campaign by swarming Federal officials inspired by the fanatical Secession leaders; the entire South only needed the spark from the treasonable torch of South Carolina, to find itself ablaze, almost from one end to the other, with the flames of revolt.
Governor after Governor, in State after State, issued proclamation after proclamation, calling together their respective Legislatures, to consider the situation and whether their respective States should join South Carolina in seceding from the Union. Kentucky alone, of them all, seemed for a time to keep cool, and look calmly and reasonably through the Southern ferment to the horrors beyond. In an address issued by Governor Magoffin of that State, to the people, he said:
"To South Carolina and such other States as may wish to secede from the Union, I would say: The geography of this Country will not admit of a division; the mouth and sources of the Mississippi River cannot be separated without the horrors of Civil War. We cannot sustain you in this movement merely on account of the election of Mr. Lincoln. Do not precipitate by premature action into a revolution or Civil War, the consequences of which will be most frightful to all of us. It may yet be avoided. There is still hope, faint though it be. Kentucky is a Border State, and has suffered more than all of you. * * * She has a right to claim that her voice, and the voice of reason, and moderation and patriotism shall be heard and heeded by you. If you secede, your representatives will go out of Congress and leave us at the mercy of a Black Republican Government. Mr. Lincoln will have no check. He can appoint his Cabinet, and have it confirmed. The Congress will then be Republican, and he will be able to pass such laws as he may suggest. The Supreme Court will be powerless to protect us. We implore you to stand by us, and by our friends in the Free States; and let us all, the bold, the true, and just men in the Free and Slave States, with a united front, stand by each other, by our principles, by our rights, our equality, our honor, and by the Union under the Constitution. I believe this is the only way to save it; and we can do it."
But this "still small voice" of conscience and of reason, heard like a whisper from the mouths of Stephens in Georgia, and Magoffin in Kentucky, was drowned in the clamor and tumult of impassioned harangues and addresses, and the drumming and tramp of the "minute men" of South Carolina, and other military organizations, as they excitedly prepared throughout the South for the dread conflict at arms which they recklessly invited, and savagely welcomed.
We have seen how President Andrew Jackson some thirty years before, had stamped out Nullification and Disunion in South Carolina, with an iron heel.
But a weak and feeble old man—still suffering from the effects of the mysterious National Hotel poisoning—was now in the Executive Chair at the White House. Well-meaning, doubtless, and a Union man at heart, his enfeebled intellect was unable to see, and hold firm to, the only true course. He lacked clearness of perception, decision of character, and nerve. He knew Secession was wrong, but allowed himself to be persuaded that he had no Constitutional power to prevent it. He had surrounded himself in the Cabinet with such unbending adherents and tools of the Slave-Power, as Howell Cobb of Georgia, his Secretary of the Treasury, John B. Floyd of Virginia, as Secretary of War, Jacob Thompson of Mississippi, as Secretary of the Interior, and Isaac Toucy of Connecticut, as Secretary of the Navy, before whose malign influence the councils of Lewis Cass of Michigan, the Secretary of State, and other Union men, in and out of the Cabinet, were quite powerless.
When, therefore, the Congress met (December 3, 1860) and he transmitted to it his last Annual Message, it was found that, instead of treating Secession from the Jacksonian standpoint, President Buchanan feebly wailed over the threatened destruction of the Union, weakly apologized for the contemplated Treason, garrulously scolded the North as being to blame for it, and, while praying to God to "preserve the Constitution and the Union throughout all generations," wrung his nerveless hands in despair over his own powerlessness—as he construed the Constitution—to prevent Secession! Before writing his pitifully imbecile Message, President Buchanan had secured from his Attorney-General (Jeremiah S. Black of Pennsylvania) an opinion, in which the latter, after touching upon certain cases in which he believed the President would be justified in using force to sustain the Federal Laws, supposed the case of a State where all the Federal Officers had resigned and where there were neither Federal Courts to issue, nor officers to execute judicial process, and continued: "In that event, troops would certainly be out of place, and their use wholly illegal. If they are sent to aid the Courts and Marshals there must be Courts and Marshals to be aided. Without the exercise of these functions, which belong exclusively to the civil service, the laws cannot be executed in any event, no matter what may be the physical strength which the Government has at its command. Under such circumstances, to send a military force into any State, with orders to act against the people, would be simply making War upon them."
Resting upon that opinion of Attorney-General Black, President Buchanan, in his Message, after referring to the solemn oath taken by the Executive "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and stating that there were now no longer any Federal Officers in South Carolina, through whose agency he could keep that oath, took up the laws of February 28, 1795, and March 3, 1807, as "the only Acts of Congress on the Statute-book bearing upon the subject," which "authorize the President, after he shall have ascertained that the Marshal, with his posse comitatus, is unable to execute civil or criminal process in any particular case, to call out the Militia and employ the Army and Navy to aid him in performing this service, having first, by Proclamation, commanded the insurgents to 'disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes, within a limited time'"—and thereupon held that "This duty cannot, by possibility, be performed in a State where no judicial authority exists to issue process, and where there is no Marshal to execute it; and where even if there were such an officer, the entire population would constitute one solid combination to resist him." And, not satisfied with attempting to show as clearly as he seemed to know how, his own inability under the laws to stamp out Treason, he proceeded to consider what he thought Congress also could not do under the Constitution. Said he: "The question fairly stated, is: Has the Constitution delegated to Congress the power to coerce into submission a State which is attempting to withdraw, or has actually withdrawn, from the Confederacy? If answered in the affirmative, it must be on the principle that the power has been conferred upon Congress to declare and make War against a State. After much serious reflection, I have arrived at the conclusion that no such power has been delegated to Congress or to any other department of the Federal Government." And further: "Congress possesses many means of preserving it (the Union) by conciliation; but the sword was not placed in their hands to preserve it by force."
Thus, in President Buchanan's judgment, while, in another part of his Message, he had declared that no State had any right, Constitutional or otherwise, to Secede from that Union, which was designed for all time —yet, if any State concluded thus wrongfully to Secede, there existed no power in the Union, by the exercise of force, to preserve itself from instant dissolution! How imbecile the reasoning, how impotent the conclusion, compared with that of President Jackson, thirty years before, in his Proclamation against Nullification and Secession, wherein that sturdy patriot declared to the South Carolinians that "compared to Disunion, all other evils are light, because that brings with it an accumulation of all;" that "Disunion by armed force, is Treason;" and that he was determined "to execute the Laws," and "to preserve the Union!"
President Buchanan's extraordinary Message—or so much of it as related to the perilous condition of the Union—was referred, in the House of Representatives, to a Select Committee of Thirty-three, comprising one member from each State, in which there was a very large preponderance of such as favored Conciliation without dishonor. But the debates in both Houses, in which the most violent language was indulged by the Southern Fire-eaters, as well as other events, soon proved that there was a settled purpose on the part of the Slave-Power and its adherents to resist and spit upon all attempts at placation.
In the Senate also (December 5), a Select Committee of Thirteen was appointed, to consider the impending dangers to the Union, comprising Senators Powell of Kentucky, Hunter of Virginia, Crittenden of Kentucky, Seward of New York, Toombs of Georgia, Douglas of Illinois, Collamer of Vermont, Davis of Mississippi, Wade of Ohio, Bigler of Pennsylvania, Rice of Minnesota, Doolittle of Wisconsin, and Grimes of Iowa. Their labors were alike without practical result, owing to the irreconcilable attitude of the Southrons, who would accept nothing less than a total repudiation by the Republicans of the very principles upon which the recent Presidential contest had by them been fought and won. Nor would they even accept such a repudiation unless carried by vote of the majority of the Republicans. The dose that they insisted upon the Republican Party swallowing must not only be as noxious as possible, but must absolutely be mixed by that Party itself, and in addition, that Party must also go down on its knees, and beg the privilege of so mixing and swallowing the dose! That was the impossible attitude into which, by their bullying and threats, the Slave Power hoped to force the Republican Party—either that or "War."
Project after project in both Houses of Congress looking to Conciliation was introduced, referred, reported, discussed, and voted on or not, as the case might be, in vain. And in the meantime, in New York, in Philadelphia, and elsewhere in the North, the timidity of Capital showed itself in great Conciliation meetings, where speeches were applauded and resolutions adopted of the most abject character, in behalf of "Peace, at any price," regardless of the sacrifice of honor and principles and even decency. In fact the Commercial North, with supplicating hands and beseeching face, sank on its knees in a vain attempt to propitiate its furious creditor, the South, by asking it not only to pull its nose, but to spit in its face, both of which it humbly and even anxiously offered for the purpose!*
[Thus, in Philadelphia, December 13, 1860, at a great meeting held at the call of the Mayor, in Independence Square, Mayor Henry led off the speaking—which was nearly all in the same line-by saying: "I tell you that if in any portion of our Confederacy, sentiments have been entertained and cherished which are inimical to the civil rights and social institutions of any other portion, those sentiments should be relinquished." Another speaker, Judge George W. Woodward, sneeringly asked: "Whence came these excessive sensibilities that cannot bear a few slaves in a remote Territory until the white people establish a Constitution?" Another, Mr. Charles E. Lex (a Republican), speaking of the Southern People, said: "What, then, can we say to them? what more than we have expressed in the resolutions we have offered? If they are really aggrieved by any laws upon our Statute-books opposed to their rights—if upon examination any such are found to be in conflict with the Constitution of these United States—nay, further, if they but serve to irritate our brethren of the South, whether Constitutional or not, I, for one, have no objection that they should instantly be repealed." Another said, "Let us repeal our obnoxious Personal Liberty bills * * *; let us receive our brother of the South, if he will come among us for a little time, attended by his servant, and permit him thus to come." And the resolutions adopted were even still more abject in tone than the speeches.]
But the South at present was too busy in perfecting its long-cherished plans for the disruption of the Union, to more than grimly smile at this evidence of what it chose to consider "a divided sentiment" in the North. While it weakened the North, it strengthened the South, and instead of mollifying the Conspirators against the Union, it inspired them with fresh energy in their fell purpose to destroy it.
The tone of the Republican press, too, while more dignified, was thoroughly conciliatory. The Albany Evening Journal,—[November 30, 1860]—the organ of Governor Seward, recognizing that the South, blinded by passion, was in dead earnest, but also recognizing the existence of "a Union sentiment there, worth cherishing," suggested "a Convention of the People, consisting of delegates appointed by the States, in which it would not be found unprofitable for the North and South, bringing their respective griefs, claims, and proposed reforms, to a common arbitrament, to meet, discuss, and determine upon a future"—before a final appeal to arms. So, too, Horace Greeley, in the New York Tribune,—[November 9, 1860.]—after weakly conceding, on his own part, the right of peaceable Secession, said: "But while we thus uphold the practical liberty, if not the abstract right, of Secession, we must insist that the step be taken, if it ever shall be, with the deliberation and gravity befitting so momentous an issue. Let ample time be given for reflection; let the subject be fully canvassed before the People; and let a popular vote be taken in every case, before Secession is decreed." Other leading papers of the Northern press, took similar ground for free discussion and conciliatory action.
In the Senate, as well as the House of Representatives—as also was shown by the appointment, heretofore mentioned, of Select Committees to consider the gravity of the situation, and suggest a remedy—the same spirit of Conciliation and Concession, and desire for free and frank discussion, was apparent among most of the Northern and Border-State members of those Bodies. But these were only met by sneers and threats on the part of the Fire-eating Secession members of the South. In the Senate, Senator Clingman of North Carolina, sneeringly said: "They want to get up a free debate, as the Senator (Mr. Seward) from New York expressed it, in one of his speeches. But a Senator from Texas told me the other day that a great many of these free debaters were hanging from the trees of that country;" and Senator Iverson, of Georgia, said: "Gentlemen speak of Concession, of the repeal of the Personal Liberty bills. Repeal them all to-morrow, and you cannot stop this revolution." After declaring his belief that "Before the 4th of March, five States will have declared their independence" and that "three other States will follow as soon as the action of the people can be had;" he proceeded to allude to the refusal of Governor Houston of Texas to call together the Texas Legislature for action in accord with the Secession sentiment, and declared that "if he will not yield to that public sentiment, some Texan Brutus will arise to rid his country of this hoary-headed incubus that stands between the people and their sovereign will!" Then, sneering at the presumed cowardice of the North, he continued: "Men talk about their eighteen millions (of Northern population); but we hear a few days afterwards of these same men being switched in the face, and they tremble like sheep-stealing dogs! There will be no War. The North, governed by such far-seeing Statesmen as the Senator (Mr. Seward) from New York, will see the futility of this. In less than twelve months, a Southern Confederacy will be formed; and it will be the most successful Government on Earth. The Southern States, thus banded together, will be able to resist any force in the World. We do not expect War; but we will be prepared for it—and we are not a feeble race of Mexicans either."
On the other hand, there were Republicans in that Body who sturdily met the bluster of the Southern Fire-eaters with frank and courageous words expressing their full convictions on the situation and their belief that Concessions could not be made and that Compromises were mere waste paper. Thus, Senator Ben Wade of Ohio, among the bravest and manliest of them all, in a speech in the Senate, December 17, the very day on which the South Carolina Secession Convention was to assemble, said to the Fire-eaters: "I tell you frankly that we did lay down the principle in our platform, that we would prohibit, if we had the power, Slavery from invading another inch of the Free Soil of this Government. I stand to that principle to-day. I have argued it to half a million of people, and they stand by it; they have commissioned me to stand by it; and, so help me God, I will! * * * On the other hand, our platform repudiates the idea that we have any right, or harbor any ultimate intention to invade or interfere with your institutions in your own States. * * * It is not, by your own confessions, that Mr. Lincoln is expected to commit any overt act by which you may be injured. You will not even wait for any, you say; but, by anticipating that the Government may do you an injury, you will put an end to it—which means, simply and squarely, that you intend to rule or ruin this Government. * * * As to Compromises, I supposed that we had agreed that the Day of Compromises was at an end. The most solemn we have made have been violated, and are no more. * * * We beat you on the plainest and most palpable issue ever presented to the American people, and one which every man understood; and now, when we come to the Capital, we tell you that our candidates must and shall be inaugurated—must and shall administer this Government precisely as the Constitution prescribes. * * * I tell you that, with that verdict of the people in my pocket, and standing on the platform on which these candidates were elected, I would suffer anything before I would Compromise in any way."
In the House of Representatives, on December 10, 1860, a number of propositions looking to a peaceful settlement of the threatened danger, were offered and referred to the Select Committee of Thirty-three. On the following Monday, December 17, by 154 yeas to 14 nays, the House adopted a resolution, offered by Mr. Adrian of New Jersey, in these words:
"Resolved, That we deprecate the spirit of disobedience to the Constitution, wherever manifested; and that we earnestly recommend the repeal of all Statutes by the State Legislatures in conflict with, and in violation of, that sacred instrument, and the laws of Congress passed in pursuance thereof."
On the same day, the House adopted, by 135 yeas to no nays, a resolution offered by Mr. Lovejoy of Illinois, in these words:
"Whereas, The Constitution of the United States is the Supreme law of the Land, and ready and faithful obedience to it a duty of all good and law-abiding citizens; Therefore:
"Resolved, That we deprecate the spirit of disobedience to the Constitution, wherever manifested; and that we earnestly recommend the repeal of all Nullification laws; and that it is the duty of the President of the United States to protect and defend the property of the United States."
[This resolution, before adoption, was modified by declaring it to be the duty of all citizens, whether "good and law abiding" or not, to yield obedience to the Constitution, as will be seen by referring to the proceedings in the Globe of that date, where the following appears:
"Mr. LOGAN. I hope there will be no objection on this side of the House to the introduction of the [Lovejoy] resolution. I can see no difference myself, between this resolution and the one [Adrian's] just passed, except in regard to verbiage. I can find but one objection to the resolution, and that is in the use of the words declaring that all' law abiding' citizens should obey the Constitution. I think that all men should do so.
"Mr. LOVEJOY. I accept the amendment suggested by my Colleague.
"Mr. LOGAN. It certainly should include members of Congress; but if it is allowed to remain all 'good and law abiding' citizens, I do not think it will include them. [Laughter.]
"The resolution was modified by the omission of those words."]
It also adopted, by 115 yeas to 44 nays, a resolution offered by Mr. Morris of Illinois, as follows:
"Resolved by the House of Representatives: That we properly estimate the immense value of our National Union to our collective and individual happiness; that we cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; that we will speak of it as the palladium of our political safety and prosperity; that we will watch its preservation with jealous anxiety; that we will discountenance whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can, in any event, be abandoned, and indignantly frown upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our Country from the rest, or enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts; that we regard it as a main pillar in the edifice of our real independence, the support of tranquillity at home, our peace abroad, our safety, our prosperity, and that very liberty which we so highly prize; that we have seen nothing in the past, nor do we see anything in the present, either in the election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States, or from any other existing cause, to justify its dissolution; that we regard its perpetuity as of more value than the temporary triumph of any Party or any man; that whatever evils or abuses exist under it ought to be corrected within the Union, in a peaceful and Constitutional way; that we believe it has sufficient power to redress every wrong and enforce every right growing out of its organization, or pertaining to its proper functions; and that it is a patriotic duty to stand by it as our hope in Peace and our defense in War."