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.

  [Sidenote] Douglas, Senate Speech, March 22, 1858.  App.  “Globe,”
  pp. 199, 200.

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 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 ready to meet the issue.”

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.

[1] Buchanan to Silliman and others, Aug. 15, 1857.  Senate Ex.  Doc. 
No. 8, 1st Sess. 35th Cong.  Vol.  I., p. 74.

[2] From California, 1; Illinois, 5; Indiana, 3; New Jersey, 1; New York, 2; Ohio, 6; Pennsylvania, 4.  For Lecompton:  California, 1; Connecticut, 2; Indiana, 3; New Jersey, 2; New York, 10; Ohio, 2; Pennsylvania, 11.


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