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has continued to be, "the equality of men." though it has always submitted patiently to whatever of inequality there seemed to be as matter of actual necessity, its constant working has been a steady progress towards the practical equality of all men. The late presidential election was a struggle by one party to discard that central idea and to substitute for it the opposite idea that slavery is right in the abstract, the workings of which as a central idea may be the perpetuity of human slavery and its extension to all countries and colors. Less than a year ago the Richmond "Enquirer," an avowed advocate of slavery, regardless of color, in order to favor his views, invented the phrase "State equality," and now the President, in his message, adopts the "Enquirer's" catch-phrase, telling us the people "have asserted the constitutional equality of each and all of the States of the Union as States." The President flatters himself that the new central idea is completely inaugurated; and so indeed it is, so far as the mere fact of a presidential election can inaugurate it. To us it is left to know that the majority of the people have not yet declared for it, and to hope that they never will. All of us who did not vote for Mr. Buchanan, taken together, are a majority of four hundred thousand. But in the late contest we were divided between Frémont and Fillmore. Can we not come together for the future? Let every one who really believes, and is resolved, that free society is not and shall not be a failure, and who can conscientiously declare that in the past contest he has done only what he thought best, let every such one have charity to believe that every other one can say as much. Thus let bygones be bygones; let past differences as nothing be; and with steady eye on the real issue, let us reinaugurate the good old "central ideas" of the republic. We can do it. The human heart is with us; God is with us. We shall again Journal," be able not to declare that "all States as States are equal," nor yet that "all citizens as citizens are equal," but to renew the broader, better declaration, including both these and much more, that "all men are created equal."

Though these fragments of addresses give us only an imperfect reflection of the style of Mr.

Illinois "State

December 16, 1856.

CHAP. II. Lincoln's oratory during this period, they nevertheless show its essential characteristics, a pervading clearness of analysis, and that strong tendency to axiomatic definition which gives so many of his sentences their convincing force and durable value. They also show us the combination, not often found in such happy balance, of the politician's discernment of fact with the statesman's wisdom of theory-how present forces of national life are likely to be moved by future impulses of national will. The politician could see the four hundred thousand voters who would give victory to some party in the near future. It required the wisdom of the statesman to divine that the public opinion which would direct how these votes were to be cast, could most surely be created by an appeal to those generous "central ideas" of the human mind which favor equality against caste and freedom against slavery. Perhaps the most distinctively representative quality these addresses exhibit is the patriotic spirit and faith which led him to declare so dogmatically in this campaign of 1856, what the nation called upon him a few years later to execute by the stern powers of war, "We do not want to dissolve the Union; you shall not."




HE official reports show that the proceedings CHAP. III. of the American Congress, while in the main conducted with becoming propriety and decorum, have occasionally been dishonored by angry personal altercations and scenes of ruffianly violence. These disorders increased as the great political struggle over the slavery question grew in intensity, and reached their culmination in a series of startling incidents.

Charles Sumner, one of the Senators from the State of Massachusetts, had become conspicuous, in the prevailing political agitation, for his aggressive and radical antislavery speeches in the Senate and elsewhere. The slavery issue had brought him into politics; he had been elected to the United States Senate by the coalition of a small number of Free-soilers with the Democrats in the Massachusetts Legislature.

The slavery question, therefore, became the dominant principle and the keynote of his public career. He was a man of liberal culture, of considerable erudition in the law, of high literary ability, and he had attained an enviable social

CHAP. III. eminence. Of large physical frame and strength, gifted with a fine presence and a sonorous voice, fearless and earnest in his opposition to slavery, Charles Sumner was one of the favorite orators of the early declamatory period of the Republican party.

He joined unreservedly in the exciting Senate debates, provoked by the rival applications from Kansas for her admission as a State. On the 19th and 20th of May, 1856, he delivered an elaborate speech in the Senate, occupying two days. It was one of his greatest efforts, and had been prepared with his usual industry. In character it was a philippic rather than an argument, strong, direct, and aggressive, in which classical illustration and acrimonious accusation were blended with great effect.

It described what he called "The Crime against Kansas"; and the excuses for the crime he denominated the apology tyrannical, the apology imbecile, the apology absurd, and the apology infamous. Tyranny, imbecility, absurdity, and infamy,” he continued, "all unite to dance, like the weird sisters, about this crime."

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In the course of his speech he alluded, among others, to A. P. Butler, of South Carolina, and in reply to some severe strictures by that Senator during preceding debates, indulged in caustic personal criticism upon his course and utterance, as well as upon the State which he represented.

With regret [said Sumner], I come again upon the Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Butler], who, omnipresent in this debate, overflowed with rage at the simple suggestion that Kansas had applied for admission as a

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