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of a State constitution? I answer emphatically, as Mr. Lincoln has heard me answer a hundred times from every stump in Illinois, that in my opinion the people of a Territory can, by lawful means, exclude slavery from their limits, prior to the formation of a State constitution. Mr. Lincoln knew that I had answered that question over and over again. He heard me argue the Nebraska bill on that principle all over the State in 1854, in 1855, and in 1856, and he has no excuse for pretending to be in doubt as to my position on that question. It matters not what way the Supreme Court may hereafter decide as to the abstract question whether slavery may or may not go into a Territory under the Constitution, the people have the lawful means to introduce it or exclude it, as they please, for the reason that slavery cannot exist a day or an hour anywhere, unless it is supported by local police regulations. Those police regulations can only be established by the local Legislature, and if the people are opposed to slavery they will elect representatives to that body who will by unfriendly legislation effectually prevent the introduction of it into their midst. If, on the contrary, they are for it, their legislation will favor its extension. Hence, no matter what the decision of the Supreme Court may be on that abstract question, still the right of the people to make a slave Territory or a free Territory is perfect and complete under the Nebraska bill. I hope Mr. Lincoln deems my answer satisfactory on that point.

The remarkable theory here proposed was immediately taken up and exhaustively discussed by the leading newspapers in all parts of the Union, and thereby became definitely known under the terms "unfriendly legislation" and "Freeport doctrine." Mr. Lincoln effectually disposed of it in the following fashion in the joint debate at Alton:

I understand I have ten minutes yet. I will employ it in saying something about this argument Judge Douglas uses, while he sustains the Dred Scott decision, that the people of the Territories can still somehow exclude slavery. VOL. II.-11

CHAP. IX.

Lincoln-
Douglas

Debates,

p. 95.

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CHAP. IX. The first thing I ask attention to is the fact that Judge Douglas constantly said, before the decision, that whether they could or not, was a question for the Supreme Court. But after the court has made the decision he virtually says it is not a question for the Supreme Court, but for the people. And how is it he tells us they can exclude it? He said it needs "police regulations," and that admits of "unfriendly legislation." Although it is a right established by the Constitution of the United States to take a slave into a Territory of the United States and hold him as property, yet unless the Territorial Legislature will give friendly legislation, and, more especially, if they adopt unfriendly legislation, they can practically exclude him. Now, without meeting this proposition as a matter of fact, I pass to consider the real constitutional obligation. Let me take the gentleman who looks me in the face before me, and let us suppose that he is a member of the Territorial Legislature. The first thing he will do will be to swear that he will support the Constitution of the United States. His neighbor by his side in the Territory has slaves and needs Territorial legislation to enable him to enjoy that constitutional right. Can he withhold the legislation which his neighbor needs for the enjoyment of a right which is fixed in his favor in the Constitution of the United States, which he has sworn to support? Can he withhold it without violating his oath? and more especially, can he pass unfriendly legislation to violate. his oath? Why this is a monstrous sort of talk about the Constitution of the United States! There has never been as outlandish or lawless a doctrine from the mouth of any respectable man on earth. I do not believe it is a constitutional right to hold slaves in a Territory of the United States. I believe the decision was improperly made, and I go for reversing it. Judge Douglas is furious against those who go for reversing a decision. But he is for legislating it out of all force, while the law itself stands. I repeat that there has never been so monstrous a doctrine uttered from the mouth of a respectable man.

LincolnDouglas Debates, pp. 234-5.

The announcement and subsequent defense by Douglas of his "Freeport doctrine" proved, as Lin

coln had predicted, something more important than CHAP. IX. a mere campaign incident. It was the turningpoint in Douglas's political fortunes. With the whole South, and with a few prominent politicians of the North, it served to put him outside the pale of party fellowship. Compared with this his Lecompton revolt had been a venial offense. In that case he had merely contended for the machinery of a fair popular vote. This was the avowal of a principle as obnoxious to the slavery propaganda as the unqualified abolitionism of Giddings and Lovejoy. Henceforth all hope of reconciliation, atonement, or chance of Presidential nomination by the united Democratic party was out of the question. Before this, newspaper zealots had indeed denounced him for his Lecompton recusancy as a traitor and renegade, and the Administration had endeavored to secure his defeat; now, however, in addition, the party high-priests put him under solemn ban of excommunication. How they felt and from what motives they acted is stated with singular force and frankness in a Senate speech, soon after the Charleston Convention, by Senator Judah P. Benjamin, of Louisiana, one of the ablest and most persistent of the conspirators to nationalize slavery, and who, not long after, was one of the principal actors in the great rebellion:

Up to the years 1857 and 1858 no man in this nation had a higher or more exalted opinion of the character, the services, and the political integrity of the Senator from Illinois [Douglas] than I had. . . Sir, it has been with reluctance and sorrow that I have been obliged to pluck down my idol from his place on high, and to refuse to him any more support or confidence as a member of

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