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of the question, and the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Vinton) was an example attesting that fact.
Mr. Vinton interrupted here to say, that he had stood upon this question just where he was now, for five-and-twenty years. Mr. Lincoln was not making an argument for the purpose of convicting the gentleman of any impropriety at all. He was speaking of a fact in history, of which his State was an example. He was referring to a plain principle in the nature of things. The State of Ohio had now grown to be a giant. She had a large delegation on that floor; but was she now in favor of granting lands to the new States, as she used to be? The New England States, New York, and the Old Thirteen, were all rather quiet upon the subject; and it was seen just now that a member from one of the new States was the first man to rise up in opposition. And so it would be with the history of this question for the future. There never would come a time when the people residing in the States embracing the public lands would have the entire control of this subject; and so it was a matter of certainty that Congress would never do more in this respect than what would be dictated by a just liberality. The apprehension, therefore, that the public lands were in danger of being wrested from the General Government by the strength of the delegation in Congress from the new States, was utterly futile. There never could be such a thing. If we take these lands (said he) it will not be without your consent. We can never outnumber you. The result is, that all fear of the new States turning against the right of Congress to the public domain must be effectually quelled, as those who are opposed to that interest must always hold a vast majority here, and they will never surrender the whole or any part of the public lands, unless they themselves choose so to do. This was all he desired to say.
With the termination of the Thirtieth Congress, by Constitutional limitation, on the 4th of March, 1849, Mr. Lincoln's career as a Congressman came to a close. He had refused to be a candidate for re-election in a district that had given him over 1,500 majority in 1846, and nearly the same to General Taylor, as the Whig candidate for the Presidency in 1848. His name was prominently presented for the position of Commissioner of the General Land Office, under President Taylor, but, though he zealously labored to bring in the new Administration, he made no complaint, and certainly did not afterward seriously regret that his valued services were not thus recog
nized. He retired once more to private life, renewing the professional practice which had been temporarily interrupted by his public employment. The duties of his responsible position had been discharged with assiduity and with fearless adherence to his convictions of right, under whatever circumstances. Scarcely a list of yeas and nays can be found, for He was either session, which does not contain his name. never conveniently absent on any critical vote. He never shrank from any responsibility which his sense of justice impelled him to take. His record, comparatively brief as it is, is no doubtful one, and will bear the closest scrutiny. And though one of the youngest and most inexperienced members of an uncommonly able and brilliant Congress, he might well have been ranked, without the more recent events which have naturally followed upon his previous career, among the distinguished statesmen of the Thirtieth Congress.
PROFESSIONAL LIFE.-THE ANTI-NEBRASKA CANVASS.
Mr. Lincoln in Retirement for Five Years.-Gen. Taylor's Administration. The Slavery Agitation of 1850.-The Compromise of Clay and Fillmore.-The "Final Settlement" of 1852.-How, and by Whom it was Disturbed.-Violation of the most Positive Pledges.The Kansas-Nebraska Bill.-Douglas, the Agitator.-Popular Indignation and Excitement.-Mr. Lincoln takes part in the Canvass of 1854.-Great Political Changes.-The Anti-Nebraska Organization.-Springfield Resolutions of 1854.--Results of the Election.-A Majority of Congressmen and of the Legislature Anti-Nebraska.-Election of United States Senator to Succeed Gen. Shields.-Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Trumbull.-A Magnanimous Sacrifice.-Mr. Trumbull Elected.
DURING the five years immediately following the close of his Congressional life, Mr. Lincoln attentively pursued his profession of the law. He took no active part in politics through the period of Gen. Taylor's Administration, or in any of the exciting scenes of 1850. His great political leader, Henry Clay, had resumed his place in the Senate, and was earnestly striving—one of the last great labors of his life—to avert the dangers to the country, which he believed to be threatened by the fierce contests over the question of Slavery. It was, with the slave States, a desperate struggle to retain the balance of power in the Senate, by rejecting the application of another free State for admission, the granting of which would destroy the exact equilibrium then existing. The policy of admitting. a slave State along with every new free one, had substantially prevailed for years; but, at this time, despite the extensive additions of Mexican territory, there was no counterbalancing slave State ready for admission. The exclusion of slavery
from California had, in fact, been rather a surprise, and this application was evidently still more an irritating circumstance for that reason. And yet this movement was in strict accordance with the policy of a Southern President. As a final result, the admission of California was only carried by means of great counterbalancing concessions on the part of the free States. For months after, there was much discontent in both sections, in regard to the compromise measures of 1850, which were defeated in Congress, when first acted upon as a whole, but were ultimately carried in detail. It was not until 1852, when both the great parties of the country agreed to accept those measures as a "final settlement" of the slavery controversy, that public sentiment, North and South, appeared to have become fully reconciled to this adjustment. The Administration, brought into power by the election of that year, was most thoroughly and sacredly committed to the maintenance of this settlement, and against the revival of the slavery agitation in any form. To introduce that subject under any pretence, into the halls of Congress, was an act of wanton incendiarism, in utter disregard of most solemn pledges, by the aid of which the Democratic party had secured whatever real hold it had upon popular confidence. Such was the state of affairs in 1852, and at the time of Mr. Pierce's inauguration in 1853.
Mr. Lincoln, as a private citizen, engrossed with his professional duties, had borne no part in the original controversy, and had taken no share in its settlement. Whether preferring the non-intervention policy of President Taylor, or the compromise course of Clay and Fillmore, he had undoubtedly regarded the peace established, by means of the latter, as one that ought by all means to be preserved, and the pledges of both sections of the country, through the action of both the national parties, as religiously binding upon every public man who had openly or tacitly assented thereto. That he approved all the details of this compromise is not probable. But that, if faithfully adhered to, the practical results would have been satisfactory, he was undoubtedly convinced.
The introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, in 1854, in the midst of this profound peace on the slavery question, was