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The anti-Lecompton recusancy of Douglas baffled 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 anti-Lecompton 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 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 groundwork 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 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 dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the verge of making their State free; and we shall awake to the reality instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State."

His peroration was a battle call: "Our cause, then, must be entrusted to and conducted by its own undoubted friends, those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work, who do care for the result. Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand strong. We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us. Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy. Did we brave all then to falter now?--now, when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered, and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail--if we stand firm we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but sooner or later the victory is sure to come."

Lincoln's declaration that the cause of slavery restriction "must be entrusted to its own undoubted friends" had something more than a general meaning. We have seen that while Douglas avowed he did not care "whether slavery was voted down or voted up" in the Territories, he had opposed the Lecompton Constitution on the ground of its non-submission to popular vote and that this opposition caused the Buchanan Democrats to treat him as an apostate. Many earnest Republicans were moved to strong sympathy for Douglas in this attitude, partly for his help in defeating the Lecompton iniquity, partly because they believed his action in this particular a prelude to further political repentance, partly out of that chivalric generosity of human nature which sides with the weak against the strong. In the hour of his trial and danger, many wishes for his successful reëlection came to him from Republicans of national prominence. Greeley, in the New York "Tribune" as well as in private letters, made no concealment of such a desire. Burlingame, in a fervid speech in the House of Representatives, called upon the young men of the country to stand by the Douglas men. It was known that Colfax and other influential members of the House were holding confidential interviews with Douglas, the object of which it was not difficult to guess. There were even rumors that Seward intended to interfere in his behalf. This report was bruited about so industriously that he felt it necessary to permit a personal friend to write an emphatic denial, so that it might come to Lincoln's knowledge. On the other hand, newspapers ventured the suggestion that Lincoln might retaliate by a combination against Seward's Presidential aspirations.

Rival politicians in Illinois were suspicious of each other, and did not hesitate to communicate their suspicions to Lincoln. Personal friends, of course, kept him well informed about these various political under-currents, and an interesting letter of his shows that he received and treated the matter with liberal charity. "I have never said or thought more," wrote he, "as to the inclination of some of our Eastern Republican friends to favor Douglas, than I expressed in your hearing on the evening of the 21st April, at the State Library in this place. I have believed--do believe now--that Greeley, for instance, would be rather pleased to see Douglas reëlected over me or any other Republican; and yet I do not believe it is so because of any secret arrangement with Douglas--it is because he thinks Douglas's superior position, reputation, experience, and ability, if you please, would more than compensate for his lack of a pure Republican position, and, therefore, his reëlection do the general cause of Republicanism more good than would the election of any one of our better undistinguished pure Republicans. I do not know how you estimate Greeley, but I consider him incapable of corruption or falsehood. He denies that he directly is taking part in favor of Douglas, and I believe him.[1] Still his feeling constantly manifests itself in his paper, which, being so extensively read in Illinois, is, and will continue to be, a drag upon us. I have also thought that Governor Seward, too, feels about as Greeley does; but not being a newspaper editor, his feeling in this respect is not much manifested. I have no idea that he is, by conversation or by letter, urging Illinois Republicans to vote for Douglas."

"As to myself, let me pledge you my word that neither I nor my friends, so far as I know, have been setting stake against Governor Seward. No combination has been made with me, or proposed to me, in relation to the next Presidential candidate. The same thing is true in regard to the next Governor of our State. I am not directly or indirectly committed to any one; nor has any one made any advance to me upon the subject. I have had many free conversations with John Wentworth; but he never dropped a remark that led me to suspect that he wishes to be Governor. Indeed it is due to truth to say that while he has uniformly expressed himself for me, he has never hinted at any condition. The signs are that we shall have a good convention on the 16th, and I think our prospects generally are improving some every day. I believe we need nothing so much as to get rid of unjust suspicions of one another."

While many alleged defections were soon disproved by the ready and loyal avowals of his friends in Illinois and elsewhere, there came to him a serious disappointment from a quarter whence he little expected it. Early in the canvass Lincoln began to hear that Crittenden, of Kentucky, favored the reëlection of Douglas, and had promised so to advise the Whigs of Illinois by a public letter. Deeming it well-nigh incredible that a Kentucky Whig like Crittenden could take such a part against an Illinois Whig of his own standing and service, to help a life-long opponent of Clay and his cherished plans, Lincoln addressed him a private letter making the direct inquiry. "I do not believe the story," he wrote, "but still it gives me some uneasiness. If such was your inclination, I do not believe you would so express yourself. It is not in character with you as I have always estimated you." Crittenden's reply, however, confirmed his worst fears. He said he and Douglas had acted together to oppose Lecompton. For this Douglas had been assailed, and he thought his reëlection was necessary to rebuke the Buchanan Administration. In addition Crittenden also soon wrote the expected letter for publication, in which phraseology of apparent fairness covered an urgent appeal in Douglas's behalf.

In the evenly balanced and sensitive condition of Illinois politics this ungracious outside interference may be said to have insured Lincoln's defeat. While it gave him pain to be thus wounded in the house of his friends, he yet more deeply deplored the inexcusable blunder of leaders whose misplaced sympathy put in jeopardy the success of a vital political principle. In his convention speech he had forcibly stated the error and danger of such a step. "How can he [Douglas] oppose the advances of slavery? He don't care anything about it. His avowed mission is impressing the 'public heart' to care nothing about it.... For years he has labored to prove it a sacred right of white men to take negro slaves into the new Territories. Can he possibly show that it is less a sacred right to buy them where they can be bought cheapest? And unquestionably they can be bought cheaper in Africa than in Virginia. He has done all in his power to reduce the whole question of slavery to one of a mere right of property.... Now as ever, I wish not to misrepresent Judge Douglas's position, question his motives, or do aught that can be personally offensive to him. Whenever, if ever, he and we can come together on principle so that our great cause may have assistance from his great ability, I hope to have interposed no adventitious obstacle. But clearly he is not now with us--he does not pretend to be--he does not promise ever to be."

Lincoln in nowise underrated the severity of the political contest in which he was about to engage. He knew his opponent's strong points as well as his weak ones--his energy, his adroitness, the blind devotion of his followers, his greater political fame. "Senator Douglas is of world-wide renown," he said. "All the anxious politicians of his party, or who have been of his party for years past, have been looking upon him as certainly at no distant day to be the President of the United States. They have seen in his round, jolly, fruitful face post-offices, land-offices, marshalships, and cabinet appointments, chargé-ships and foreign missions, bursting and sprouting out in wonderful exuberance ready to be laid hold of by their greedy hands. And as they have been gazing upon this attractive picture so long, they cannot, in the little distraction that has taken place in the party, bring themselves to give up the charming hope; but with greedier anxiety they rush about him, sustain him, and give him marches, triumphal entries, and receptions, beyond what even in the days of his highest prosperity they could have brought about in his favor. On the contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor, lean, lank face, nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting out. These are disadvantages all taken together, that the Republicans labor under. We have to fight this battle upon principle, and principle alone."

Douglas and his friends had indeed entered upon the canvass with an unusual flourish of trumpets. Music, banners, salutes, fireworks, addresses, ovation, and jubilation with enthusiasm genuine and simulated, came and went in almost uninterrupted sequence; so much of the noise and pomp of electioneering had not been seen since the famous hard-cider campaign of Harrison. The "Little Giant," as he was proudly nicknamed by his adherents, arrived in Illinois near midsummer, after elaborate preparation and heralding, and made speeches successively at Chicago, Bloomington, and Springfield on the 9th, 16th, and 17th of July. The Republicans and their candidate were equally alert to contest every inch of ground. Mr. Lincoln made speeches in reply at Chicago on the 10th and at Springfield on the evening of Douglas's day address; and in both instances with such force and success as portended a fluctuating and long-continued struggle.

For the moment the presence of Douglas not only gave spirit and fresh industry to his followers, but the novelty impressed the indifferent and the wavering. The rush of the campaign was substituting excitement for inquiry, blare of brass bands and smoke of gunpowder for intelligent criticism. The fame and prestige of the "Little Giant" was beginning to incline the vibrating scale. Lincoln and his intimate political advisers were not slow to note the signs of danger; and the remedy devised threw upon him the burden of a new responsibility. It was decided in the councils of the Republican leaders that Lincoln should challenge Douglas to joint public debate.

The challenge was sent by Lincoln on July 24; Douglas proposed that they should meet at the towns of Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy, and Alton, each speaker alternately to open and close the discussion; Douglas to speak one hour at Ottawa, Lincoln to reply for an hour and a half, and Douglas to make a half hour's rejoinder. In like manner, Lincoln should open and close at Freeport, and so on alternately. Lincoln's note of July 31 accepted the proposal as made. "Although by the terms," he wrote, "as you propose, you take four openings and closes to my three, I accede and thus close the arrangement." Meanwhile, each of the speakers made independent appointments for other days and places than these seven; and in the heat and dust of midsummer traveled and addressed the people for a period of about one hundred days, frequently making the necessary journeys by night, and often speaking two and sometimes even three times in a single day. Thus to the combat of intellectual skill was added a severe ordeal of physical endurance.[2]

Lincoln entered upon the task which his party friends had devised with neither bravado nor misgiving. He had not sought these public discussions; neither did he shrink from them. Throughout his whole life he appears to have been singularly correct in his estimate of difficulties to be encountered and of his own powers for overcoming them. Each of these seven meetings, comprising both the Republican and Democratic voters of the neighboring counties, formed a vast, eager, and attentive assemblage. It needed only the first day's experience to show the wisdom of the Republican leaders in forcing a joint discussion upon Douglas. Face to face with his competitor, he could no longer successfully assume airs of superiority, or wrap himself in his Senatorial dignity and prestige. They were equal spokesmen, of equal parties, on an equal platform, while applause and encouragement on one side balanced applause and encouragement on the other.

In a merely forensic sense, it was indeed a battle of giants. In the whole field of American politics no man has equaled Douglas in the expedients and strategy of debate. Lacking originality and constructive logic, he had great facility in appropriating by ingenious restatement the thoughts and formulas of others. He was tireless, ubiquitous, unseizable. It would have been as easy to hold a globule of mercury under the finger's tip as to fasten him to a point he desired to evade. He could almost invert a proposition by a plausible paraphrase. He delighted in enlarging an opponent's assertion to a forced inference ridiculous in form and monstrous in dimensions. In spirit he was alert, combative, aggressive; in manner, patronizing and arrogant by turns.

Lincoln's mental equipment was of an entirely different order. His principal weapon was direct, unswerving logic. His fairness of statement and generosity of admission had long been proverbial. For these intellectual duels with Douglas, he possessed a power of analysis that easily outran and circumvented the "Little Giant's" most extraordinary gymnastics of argument. But, disdaining mere quibbles, he pursued lines of concise reasoning to maxims of constitutional law and political morals. Douglas was always forcible in statement and bold in assertion; but Lincoln was his superior in quaint originality, aptness of phrase, and subtlety of definition; and oftentimes Lincoln's philosophic vision and poetical fervor raised him to flights of eloquence which were not possible to the fiber and temper of his opponent.

It is, of course, out of the question to abridge the various Lincoln-Douglas discussions of which the text fills a good-sized volume. Only a few points of controversy may be stated. Lincoln's convention speech, it will be remembered, declared that in his belief the Union could not endure permanently half slave and half free, but must become all one thing or all the other. Douglas in his first speech of the campaign attacked this as an invitation to a war of sections, declaring that uniformity would lead to consolidation and despotism. He charged the Republicans with intent to abolish slavery in the States; said their opposition to the Dred Scott decision was a desire for negro equality and amalgamation; and prescribed his dogma of popular sovereignty as a panacea for all the ills growing out of the slavery agitation.

To this Lincoln replied that Republicans did not aim at abolition in the slave-States, but only the exclusion of slavery from free Territories; they did not oppose the Dred Scott decision in so far as it concerned the freedom of Dred Scott, but they refused to accept its dicta as rules of political action. He repelled the accusation that the Republicans desired negro equality or amalgamation, saying: "There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that notwithstanding all this there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence--the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects--certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment; but in the right to eat the bread without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal, and the equal of Judge Douglas and the equal of every living man."

In return he pressed upon Douglas his charge of a political conspiracy to nationalize slavery, alleging that his "don't care" policy was but the convenient stalking-horse under cover of which a new Dred Scott decision would make slavery lawful everywhere.

    It is merely for the Supreme Court to decide that no State under the Constitution can exclude it, just as they have already decided that under the Constitution neither Congress nor the Territorial Legislature can do it. When that is decided and acquiesced in, the whole thing is done. This being true, and this being the way, as I think, that slavery is to be made national, let us consider what Judge Douglas is doing every day to that end. In the first place, let us see what influence he is exerting on public sentiment. In this and like communities public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.

    The Democratic policy in regard to that institution will not tolerate the merest breath, the slightest hint, of the least degree of wrong about it. Try it by some of Judge Douglas's arguments. He says he "don't care whether it is voted up or voted down" in the Territories. I do not care myself, in dealing with that expression, whether it is intended to be expressive of his individual sentiments on the subject, or only of the national policy he desires to have established. It is alike valuable for my purpose. Any man can say that who does not see anything wrong in slavery, but no man can logically say it who does see a wrong in it; because no man can logically say he don't care whether a wrong is voted up or voted down. He may say he don't care whether an indifferent thing is voted up or down, but he must logically have a choice between a right thing and a wrong thing. He contends that whatever community wants slaves has a right to have them. So they have, if it is not a wrong. But if it is a wrong, he cannot say people have a right to do wrong. He says that upon the score of equality slaves should be allowed to go into a new Territory, like other property. This is strictly logical if there is no difference between it and other property. If it and other property are equal, his argument is entirely logical. But if you insist that one is wrong and the other right, there is no use to institute a comparison between right and wrong. You may turn over everything in the Democratic policy from beginning to end, whether in the shape it takes on the statute book, in the shape it takes in the Dred Scott decision, in the shape it takes in conversation, or the shape it takes in short maxim-like arguments--it everywhere carefully excludes the idea that there is anything wrong in it.

    That is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles--right and wrong--throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle, in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, "You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it." No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.

As to the vaunted popular sovereignty principle, Lincoln declared it "the most arrant Quixotism that was ever enacted before a community.... Does he mean to say that he has been devoting his life to securing to the people of the Territories the right to exclude slavery from the Territories? If he means so to say, he means to deceive; because he and every one knows that the decision of the Supreme Court, which he approves and makes especial ground of attack upon me for disapproving, forbids the people of a Territory to exclude slavery. This covers the whole ground from the settlement of a Territory till it reaches the degree of maturity entitling it to form a State constitution. So far as all that ground is concerned, the Judge is not sustaining popular sovereignty, but absolutely opposing it. He sustains the decision which declares that the popular will of the Territories has no constitutional power to exclude slavery during their territorial existence."

By no means the least interesting of the many points touched in these debates is Lincoln's own estimate of the probable duration of slavery, or rather of the least possible period in which "ultimate extinction" could be effected, even under the most favorable circumstances.

    Now, at this day in the history of the world [said he, in the Charleston debate], we can no more foretell where the end of this slavery agitation will be than we can see the end of the world itself. The Nebraska-Kansas bill was introduced four years and a half ago, and if the agitation is ever to come to an end, we may say we are four years and a half nearer the end. So too we can say we are four years and a half nearer the end of the world; and we can just as clearly see the end of the world as we can see the end of this agitation. The Kansas settlement did not conclude it. If Kansas should sink to-day, and leave a great vacant space in the earth's surface, this vexed question would still be among us. I say then there is no way of putting an end to the slavery agitation amongst us, but to put it back upon the basis where our fathers placed it, no way but to keep it out of our new Territories--to restrict it forever to the old States where it now exists. Then the public mind will rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction. That is one way of putting an end to the slavery agitation.

    The other way is for us to surrender and let Judge Douglas and his friends have their way and plant slavery over all the States; cease speaking of it as in any way a wrong; regard slavery as one of the common matters of property and speak of negroes as we do of our horses and cattle. But while it drives on in its state of progress as it is now driving, and as it has driven for the last five years, I have ventured the opinion, and I say to-day that we will have no end to the slavery agitation until it takes one turn or the other. I do not mean to say that when it takes a turn towards ultimate extinction it will be in a day, nor in a year, nor in two years. I do not suppose that in the most peaceful way ultimate extinction would occur in less than a hundred years at least; but that it will occur in the best way for both races, in God's own good time, I have no doubt.

But the one dominating characteristic of Lincoln's speeches is their constant recurrence to broad and enduring principles, their unremitting effort to lead public opinion to loftier and nobler conceptions of political duty; and nothing in his career stamps him so distinctively an American as his constant eulogy and defense of the philosophical precepts of the Declaration of Independence. The following is one of his indictments of his political opponents on this point:

    At Galesburg the other day, I said, in answer to Judge Douglas, that three years ago there never had been a man, so far as I knew or believed, in the whole world, who had said that the Declaration of Independence did not include negroes in the term "all men." I re-assert it to-day. I assert that Judge Douglas and all his friends may search the whole records of the country, and it will be a matter of great astonishment to me if they shall be able to find that one human being three years ago had ever uttered the astounding sentiment that the term "all men" in the Declaration did not include the negro. Do not let me be misunderstood. I know that more than three years ago there were men who, finding this assertion constantly in the way of their schemes to bring about the ascendency and perpetuation of slavery, denied the truth of it. I know that Mr. Calhoun and all the politicians of his school denied the truth of the Declaration. I know that it ran along in the mouth of some Southern men for a period of years, ending at last in that shameful though rather forcible declaration of Pettit, of Indiana, upon the floor of the United States Senate, that the Declaration of Independence was in that respect "a self-evident lie" rather than a self-evident truth. But I say, with a perfect knowledge of all this hawking at the Declaration without directly attacking it, that three years ago there never had lived a man who had ventured to assail it in the sneaking way of pretending to believe it and then asserting it did not include the negro. I believe the first man who ever said it was Chief-Justice Taney in the Dred Scott case, and the next to him was our friend, Stephen A. Douglas. And now it has become the catchword of the entire party. I would like to call upon his friends everywhere to consider how they have come in so short a time to view this matter in a way so entirely different from their former belief; to ask whether they are not being borne along by an irresistible current, whither they know not?

In the joint debates, however, argument and oratory were both hampered by the inexorable limit of time. For the full development of his thought, the speeches Lincoln made separately at other places afforded him a freer opportunity. A quotation from his language on one of these occasions is therefore here added, as a better illustration of his style and logic, where his sublime theme carried him into one of his more impassioned moods:

    The Declaration of Independence was formed by the representatives of American liberty from thirteen States of the Confederacy, twelve of which were slave-holding communities. We need not discuss the way or the reason of their becoming slave-holding communities. It is sufficient for our purpose that all of them greatly deplored the evil and that they placed a provision in the Constitution which they supposed would gradually remove the disease by cutting off its source. This was the abolition of the slave trade. So general was the conviction, the public determination, to abolish the African slave trade, that the provision which I have referred to as being placed in the Constitution declared that it should not be abolished prior to the year 1808. A constitutional provision was necessary to prevent the people, through Congress, from putting a stop to the traffic immediately at the close of the war. Now if slavery had been a good thing, would the fathers of the republic have taken a step calculated to diminish its beneficent influences among themselves, and snatch the boon wholly from their posterity? These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to his creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all his creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children, and their children's children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, or none but Anglo-Saxon white men, were entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began, so that truth and justice and mercy and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.

    Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines conflicting with the great landmarks of the Declaration of Independence; if you have listened to suggestions which would take away from its grandeur and mutilate the fair symmetry of its proportions; if you have been inclined to believe that all men are not created equal in those inalienable rights enumerated by our chart of liberty, let me entreat you to come back. Return to the fountain whose waters spring close by the blood of the revolution. Think nothing of me--take no thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever--but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence. You may do anything with me you choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles. You may not only defeat me for the Senate, but you may take me and put me to death. While pretending no indifference to earthly honors, I do claim to be actuated in this contest by something higher than an anxiety for office. I charge you to drop every paltry and insignificant thought for any man's success. It is nothing; I am nothing; Judge Douglas is nothing. But do not destroy that immortal emblem of Humanity--the Declaration of American Independence.[3]


[1] It is interesting to compare with Lincoln's letter one from Greeley to a Chicago editor on the same subject:

    "NEW YORK, "July 24, 1858.

    "MY FRIEND: You have taken your own course--don't try to throw the blame on others. You have repelled Douglas, who might have been conciliated and attached to our own side, whatever he may _now_ find, it necessary to say, or do, and instead of helping us in other States, you have thrown a load upon us that may probably break us down. You knew what was the almost unanimous desire of the Republicans of other States; and you spurned and insulted them. Now go ahead and fight it through. You are in for it, and it does no good to make up wry faces. What I have said in the 'Tribune' since the fight was resolved on, has been in good faith, intended to help you through. If Lincoln would fight up to the work also, you might get through--if he apologizes, and retreats, he is lost, and all others go down with him. His first Springfield speech (at the convention) was in the right key; his Chicago speech was bad; and I fear the new Springfield speech is worse. If he dare not stand on broad Republican ground, he cannot stand at all. That, however, is _his_ business; he is nowise responsible for what I say. I shall stand on the broad anti-slavery ground, which I have occupied for years. I cannot change it to help your fight; and I should only damage you if I did. You have got your Elephant--you would have him--now shoulder him! He is not so very heavy, after all. As I seem to displease you equally when I try to keep you out of trouble, and when, having rushed in in spite of me, I try to help you in the struggle you have unwisely provoked, I must keep neutral, so far as may be hereafter. Yours,

    (Signed) "HORACE GREELEY.

    "J. MEDILL, Esq., Chicago, (very) Ill.

    "What have I ever said in favor of 'Negro equality' with reference to your fight? I recollect nothing."

The above is from a manuscript copy of Greeley's letter, but it bears internal evidence of genuineness.

[2] "Last year in the Illinois canvass I made just 130 speeches."--[Douglas, Wooster (O.) Speech.] This was between July 9 and November 2, 1858, just 100 days, exclusive of Sundays.

[3] Lincoln's Lewiston Speech, August 17, 1858. Chicago "Press and Tribune."