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long, continue to-night. I thank you for this most extensive audience that you have furnished me to-night. I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.



Senator DOUGLAS said:

MR. CHAIRMAN AND FELLOW-CITIZENS OF MCLEAN COUNTY: To say that I am profoundly touched by the hearty welcome you have extended me, and by the kind and complimentary sentiments you have expressed toward me, is but a feeble expression of the feelings of my heart.

I appear before you this evening for the purpose of vindicating the course which I have felt it my duty to pursue in the Senate of the United States upon the great public questions which have agitated the country since I last addressed you. I am aware that my senatorial course has been arraigned, not only by political foes, but by a few men pretending to belong to the Democratic party, and yet acting in alliance with the enemies of that party, for the purpose of electing Republicans to Congress in this State, in place of the present Democratic delegation. I desire your attention whilst I address you, and then I will ask your verdict whether I have not in all things acted in entire good faith, and honestly carried out the principles, the professions, and the avowals which I made before my constituents previous to my going to the Senate.

During the last session of Congress the great ques

tion of controversy has been the admission of Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton Constitution. I need not inform you that from the beginning to the end I took bold, determined, and unrelenting ground in opposition to that Lecompton Constitution. My reason for that course is contained in the fact that that instrument was not the act and deed of the people of Kansas, and did not embody their will. I hold it to be a fundamental principle in all free governments-a principle asserted in the Declaration of Independence, and underlying the Constitution of the United States, as well as the Constitution of every State of the Union-that every people ought to have the right to form, adopt, and ratify the constitution under which they are to live. When I introduced the Nebraska Bill in the Senate of the United States, in 1854, I incorporated in it the provision that it was the true intent and meaning of the bill not to legislate slavery into any Territory or State, or to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their own domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States. In that bill the pledge was distinctly made that the people of Kansas should be left not only free, but perfectly free to form and regulate their own domestic institutions to suit themselves; and the question arose, when the Lecompton Constitution was sent into Congress, and the admission of Kansas not only asked, but attempted to be forced under it, whether or not that Constitution was the free act and deed of the people of Kansas. No man pre

tends that it embodied their will. Every man in America knows that it was rejected by the people of Kansas, by a majority of over ten thousand, before the attempt was made in Congress to force the Territory into the Union under that Constitution. I resisted, therefore, the Lecompton Constitution because it was a violation of the great principle of self-government, upon which all our institutions rest. I do not wish to mislead you, or to leave you in doubt as to the motives of my action. I did not oppose the Lecompton Constitution upon the ground of the slavery clause contained in it. I made my speech against that instrument before the vote was taken on the slavery clause. At the time I made it I did not know whether that clause would be voted in or out; whether it would be included in the Constitution, or excluded from it; and it made no difference with me what the result of the vote was, for the reason that I was contending for a principle, under which you have no more right to force a free State upon a people against their will than you have to force a slave State upon them without their consent. The error consisted in attempting to control the free action of the people of Kansas in any respect whatever. It is no argument with me to say that such and such a clause of the Constitution was not palatable, that you did not like it; it is a matter of no consequence whether you in Illinois like any clause in the Kansas Constitution or not; it is not a question for you, but it is a question for the people of Kansas. They have the right to make a constitution in accordance with their own wishes, and

if you do not like it, you are not bound to go there and live under it. We in Illinois have made a constitution to suit ourselves, and we think we have a tolerably good one; but whether we have or not, it is nobody's business but our own. If the people of Kentucky do not like it, they need not come here to live under it. If the people of Indiana are not satisfied with it, what matters it to us? We, and we alone, have the right to a voice in its adoption or rejection. Reasoning thus, my friends, my efforts were directed to the vindication of the great principle involving the right of the people of each State and each Territory to form and regulate their own domestic institutions to suit themselves, subject only to the Constitution of our common country. I am rejoiced to be enabled to say to you that we fought that battle until we forced the advocates of the Lecompton instrument to abandon the attempt of inflicting it upon the people of Kansas without first giving them an opportunity of rejecting it. When we compelled them to abandon that effort, they resorted to a scheme. They agreed to refer the Constitution back to the people of Kansas, thus conceding the correctness of the principle for which I had contended, and granting all I had desired, provided the mode of that reference and the mode of submission to the people had been just, fair, and equal. I did not consider the mode of submission provided in what is known as the "English" bill a fair submission, and for this simple reason, among others: It provided, in effect, that if the people of Kansas would accept the Lecompton Constitution,

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