Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02.

[10] “Dr. Tebbs and General Whitfield a month since left very strong letters for publication with the editor of the ‘Union’ which he promised to publish.  His breach of this promise is a gross outrage.  If not published immediately our success in convention materially depends on my getting an immediate copy at Lecompton.  My friends here all regard now the ‘Union’ as an enemy and encouraging by its neutrality the fire-eaters not to submit the constitution.  Very well, the facts are so clear that I can get along without the ‘Union,’ but he had no right to suppress Dr. Tebbs’s letter.  I shall in due time expose that transaction.”—­Extract from a letter of Robert J. Walker to James Buchanan, dated October, 1857.

[11] For this autograph letter and other interesting manuscripts, we are indebted to General Duncan S. Walker, a son of the Governor, now residing in Washington, D.C.

[12] Under an Act of Congress popularly known as the “English Bill,” this same Lecompton Constitution was once more voted upon by the people of Kansas on August 2, 1858, with the following result:  for the proposition, 1788; against it, 11,300.—­Wilder, “Annals of Kansas,” pp. 186-8.

[13] Walker to Cass, Dec. 16, 1857.  Senate Ex.  Doc.  No. 8, 1st Sess., 35th Cong.  Vol.  I., pp. 131, 130.



The language of President Buchanan’s annual message, the summary dismissal of Acting Governor Stanton, and the resignation of Governor Walker abruptly transferred the whole Lecompton question from Kansas to Washington; and even before the people of the Territory had practically decided it by the respective popular votes of December 21,1857, and January 4,1858, it had become the dominant political issue in the Thirty-fifth Congress, which convened on December 7, 1857.  The attitude of Senator Douglas on the new question claimed universal attention.  The Dred Scott decision, affirming constitutional sanction and inviolability for slave property in Territories, had rudely damaged his theory.  But we have seen how in his Springfield speech he ingeniously sought to repair and rehabilitate “popular sovereignty” by the sophism that a master’s abstract constitutional right to slave property in a Territory was a “barren and a worthless right unless sustained, protected, and enforced by appropriate police regulations,” which could only be supplied by the local Territorial Legislatures; and that the people of Kansas thus still possessed the power of indirect prohibition.

  [Sidenote] 1857.

To invent and utter this sophism for home consumption among his distant constituents on the 12th of June (a few days before the Lecompton delegates were elected), and in so unobtrusive a manner as scarcely to attract a ripple of public notice, was a light task compared with that which confronted him as Senator, at the meeting of Congress in December, in the light of John Calhoun’s doings and powers, of the scandal of the Oxford fraud, and of the indignation of Northern Democrats against the betrayal of Walker and Stanton.

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Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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