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The English bill became a law; but the people of CHAP. VII. Kansas once more voted to reject the "proposition" by nearly ten thousand majority.

Douglas opposed the English bill as he had done the Lecompton bill, thus maintaining his attitude as the chief leader of the anti-Lecompton opposition. In proportion as he received encouragement and commendation from Republican and American newspapers, he fell under the ban of the Administration journals. The "Washington Union" especially pursued him with denunciation. "It has read me out of the Democratic party every other day, at least, for two or three months," said he, "and keeps reading me out; and, as if it had not succeeded, still continues to read me out, using such terms as 'traitor,' 'renegade,' 'deserter,' and other kind and polite epithets of that nature." He explained that this arose from his having voted in the Senate against its editor for the office of public printer; but he also pointed out that he did so because that journal had become pro-slavery to the point of declaring "that the emancipation acts of New York, of New England, of Pennsylvania, and of New Jersey were unconstitutional, were outrages upon the right of property, were violations of the Constitution of the United States." "The proposition is advanced," continued he," that a Southern man has a right to move from South Carolina with his negroes into Illinois, to settle there and hold them there as slaves, anything in the constitution and laws of Illinois to the contrary notwithstanding." Douglas further intimated broadly that the President and Cabinet were inspiring these editorials of the Administration organ, as part and

Douglas,

CHAP. VII. parcel of the same system and object with which they were pushing the Lecompton Constitution with its odious "property" doctrine; and declared, "if my protest against this interpolation into the policy of this country or the creed of the Democratic party is to bring me under the ban, I am pp. 199, 200. ready to meet the issue."

Senate
Speech,

March 22,

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1858. App.

Globe,"

He had not long to wait for the issue. The party rupture was radical, not superficial. It was, as he had himself pointed out, part of the contest for national supremacy between slavery and freedom. From time to time he still held out the olive-branch and pointed wistfully to the path of reconciliation. But the reactionary faction which ruled Mr. Buchanan never forgave Douglas for his part in defeating Lecompton, and more especially for what they alleged to be his treachery to his caucus bargain, in refusing to accept and defend all the logical consequences of the Dred Scott decision.

CHAPTER VIII

THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

HE anti-Lecompton recusancy of Douglas baf- CHAP. VIII. fled the plotting extremists of the South, and created additional dissension in the Democratic ranks; and this growing Democratic weakness and the increasing Republican ardor and strength presaged a possible Republican success in the coming Presidential election. While this condition of things gave national politics an unusual interest, the State of Illinois now became the field of a local contest which for the moment held the attention of the entire country in such a degree as to involve and even eclipse national issues.

In this local contest in Illinois, the choice of candidates on both sides was determined long beforehand by a popular feeling, stronger and more unerring than ordinary individual or caucus intrigues. Douglas, as author of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, as a formidable Presidential aspirant, and now again as leader of the antiLecompton Democrats, could, of course, have no rival in his party for his own Senatorial seat. Lincoln, who had in 1854 gracefully yielded his justly won Senatorial honors to Trumbull, and who alone bearded Douglas in his own State throughout the

CHAP. VIII. Whole anti-Nebraska struggle, with anything like a show of equal political courage and intellectual strength, was as inevitably the leader and choice of the Republicans. Their State convention met in Springfield on the 16th of June, 1858, and, after its ordinary routine work, passed with acclamation a separate resolution, which declared "that Abraham Lincoln is the first and only choice of the Republicans of Illinois for the United States Senate as the successor of Stephen A. Douglas." The proceedings of the convention had consumed the afternoon, and an adjournment was taken. At 8 o'clock that same evening, the convention having reassembled in the State-house, Lincoln appeared before it, and made what was perhaps the most carefully prepared speech of his whole life. Every word of it was written, every sentence had been tested; but the speaker delivered it without manuscript or notes. It was not an ordinary oration, but, in the main, an argument, as sententious and axiomatic as if made to a bench of jurists. Its opening sentences contained a political prophecy which not only became the ground-work of the campaign, but heralded one of the world's great historical events. He said:

"If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. 'A house divided against itself cannot

stand.' I believe this Government cannot endure CHAP. VIII. permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. 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 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."

Then followed his demonstration, through the incidents of the Nebraska legislation, the Dred Scott decision, and present political theories and issues, which would by and by find embodiment in new laws and future legal doctrines. The repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the language of the Nebraska bill, which declared slavery "subject to the Constitution," the Dred Scott decision, which declared that "subject to the Constitution" neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature could exclude slavery from a Territory — the argument presented point by point and step by step with legal precision the silent subversion of cherished principles of liberty. "Put this and that together," said he, "and we have another nice little niche, which we may ere long see filled with another Supreme Court decision, declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a State to exclude slavery from its limits. . . Such a decision is all that slavery now lacks of being alike lawful in all the States. . . We shall lie down," continued the orator, "pleasantly

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