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On this subject of treating it as a wrong, and limiting its spread, let me say a word. Has any thing ever threatened the existence of this Union, save and except this very institution of slavery? What is it that we hold most dear amongst us? Our own liberty and prosperity. What has ever threatened our liberty and prosperity, save and except this institution of slavery? If this is true, how do you propose to improve the condition of things by enlarging slavery-by spreading it out and making it bigger? You may have a wen or cancer upon your person and not be able to cut it out lest you bleed to death; but surely it is no way to cure it, to engraft it and spread it over your whole body. That is no proper way of treating what you regard a wrong. You see this peaceful way of dealing with it as a wrong-restricting the spread of it, and not allowing it to go into new countries where it has not already existed. That is the peaceful way, the old-fashioned way, the way in which the fathers themselves set us the example.
On the other hand, I have said there is a sentiment which treats it as not being wrong. That is the Democratic sentiment of this day. I do not mean to say that every man who stands within that range positively asserts that it is right. That class will include all who positively assert that it is right, and all who, like Judge Douglas, treat it as indifferent, and do not say it is either right or wrong. These two classes of men fall within the general class of those who do not look upon it as a wrong. And if there be among you anybody who supposes that he, as a Democrat, can consider himself “as much opposed to slavery as anybody," I would like to reason with him. You never treat it as a wrong. What other thing that you consider as a wrong, do you deal with as you deal with that? Perhaps you say it is wrong, but your leader never does, and you quarrel with anybody who says it is wrong. Although you pretend to say so yourself, you can find no fit place to deal with it as a wrong. You must not say any thing about it in the free States, because it is not here. You must not say any thing about it in the slave States, because it is there. You must not say any thing about it in the pulpit, because that is religion, and has nothing to do with it. You must not say any thing about it in politics, because that will disturb the security of "my place.” There is no place to talk about it as being a wrong, although you say yourself it is a wrong. But, finally, you will screw yourself up to the bolief that if the people of the slave States should adopt a system of gradual emancipation on the slavery question, you would be in favor of it. You would be in favor of it. You say that is getting it in the right place, and you would be glad to see it succeed. But you are deceiving yourself. You all know that Frank Blair and Gratz Brown, down there in St. Louis, undertook to introduce that system into Missouri. They fought as valiantly as they could for the system of gradual emancipation which you pretend you would be glad to see succeed. Now I will bring you to the test. After a hard fight they were beaten, and when the news came over here you threw up your hats and hurrahed for Democracy. More than that; take all the arguments made in favor of the syster you have proposed, and it carefully excludes the idea that there is any thing wrong in the institution of slavery. The arguments to sustain that policy carefully excluded it. Even here to-day you heard Judge Douglas quarrel with me because I uttered a wish that it might sometime come to an end. Although Henry Clay could say he wished every slave in the United States was in the country of his ancestors, I am denounced by those pretending to respect Henry Clay for uttering a wish that it might sometime, in some peaceful way, come to an end. The Democratic policy in regard to that institution will not tolerate the merest breath, the slightest hint, of tho least degree of wrong about it.
Besides the speeches made in the course of these seven joint debates, Mr. Lincoln delivered at least fifty other addresses to the people, in all parts of the State, during the canvass, everywhere expounding his views and declaring his sentiments with the same frankness and manliness. The chief interest of the contest, however, centred in their joint debates, and with every succeeding encounter the feeling in the State, and throughout the country, became more intense. As the day for final decision approached, Illinois fairly blazed with the excitement. While Mr. Douglas fully sustained his previous reputation, and justified the estimate his friends had placed upon his abilities, he labored under the comparative disadvantage of being much better known to the country at large than was his antagonist. During his long public career, people had become partially accustomed to his manner of presenting arguments and enforcing them. The novelty and freshness of Mr. Lincoln's addresses, on the other hand, the homeliness and force of his illustrations, their wonderful pertinence, his exhaustless humor, his confidence in his own resources, engendered by his firm belief in the justice of the cause he so ably advocated, never once rising, however, to the point of arrogance or superciliousness, fastened upon him the eyes of the people everywhere, friends and opponents alike. It was not strange that more than once, during the course of the unparalleled excitement which marked this canvass, Mr. Douglas should have been thrown off his guard by the singular self-possession displayed by his antagonist, and by the imperturbable firmness with which he maintained and defended a position once assumed. The unassuming confidence which marked Mr. Lincoln's conduct was early imparted to his supporters, and each succeeding encounter added largely to the number of his friends, until they began to indulge the hope that a triumph might be secured in spite of the adverse circumstances under which the struggle was commenced. And so it would have been, had party lines been more strictly drawn. But the action of Mr. Douglas with reference to the Lecompton Constitution when it was before the United States Senate, and the bitter hostility of the southern wing of the Democratic party to wards him, had led very many Republicans, and some of high consideration and influence in other States, to favor his return to the Senate. They deemed this due to the zeal and efficiency with which he had resisted the attempt to force slavery into Kansas against the will of the people, and as important in encouraging other Democratic leaders to imitate the example of Douglas in throwing off the yoke of the slaveholding'aristocracy. This feeling proved to be of much weight against Mr. Lincoln in the
. In the election which took place on November 2d, the popular vote stood as follows:
Mr. Lincoln, therefore, had the people been permitted to decide the question directly, would have been returned to the Senate, since he had a plurality of four thousand one hundred and forty-four votes over Mr. Douglas; but the State legislature was the tribunal that was to pass finally upon it; and there, fortunately for the country, as the future showed, but unfortunately for Mr. Lincoln at that time, the Democrats had secured an advantage, by means of an unfair districting of the State, which it was impossible to overcome. Notwithstanding the immense gains made by the Republicans, their opponents had, in the upper branch of this body, fourteen members to their eleven, while in the lower House these two parties stood forty Democrats to thirty-five Republicans. This state of affairs secured Mr. Douglas a re-election, although the fact that he was fairly beaten on the popular vote, robbed his triumph of much of its lustre. An overruling Providence, the workings of which can now be clearly traced, but which were then inscrutable, by securing this result, ultimately gave the nation for its chief magistrate the man best fitted to carry it safely through the most trying period of its history.
MR. LINCOLN AND THE PRESIDENCY.
THE OAMPAIGN OF 1859 IN O110.-MR. LINCOLN'S SPEECHES AT COLUMBUS
AND CINCINNATI.-II18 VISIT TO TIE East.-In New YORK CITY.-TIE GREAT SPEECI AT COOPER INSTITUTE.-MR. LINCOLN NOMINATED FOB THE PRESIDENOY.-HI ELECTION.
CHEERFULLY resigning himself to the fortunes of political warfare, Mr. Lincoln, upon the close of this canvass, returned to the practice of his profession. But he was not long allowed to remain in retirement. In the autumn of 1859 the Democrats of Ohio nominated Mr. Pugh as their candidate for governor, and to repay the fidelity with which he had followed his standard, as well as in the hope of securing important advantages for the democracy, Mr. Douglas was enlisted in the canvass. The Republicans at once appealed to Mr. Lincoln to come to their assistance. He promptly responded to the invitation to meet his cld antagonist, and more than sustained his great reputation by two speeches, one delivered at Columbus and the other at Cincinnati. Not fully satisfied with the position in which the close of the canvass in Illinois had left his favorite doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, Mr. Douglas had secured the insertion in Harper's Magazine of an elaborate and carefully prepared article explaining his views at length. Mr. Lincoln's speech at Columbus was a most masterly review of this paper. After replying briefly to the identically stale charges which Mr. Douglas had so often repeated during the canvass in Illinois, and which he had reiterated in a speech delivered at Columbus a few days previously, Mr. Lincoln addressed himself to the task he had in hand, as follows:
The Republican party, as I understand its principles and policy, believe that there is great danger of the institution of slavery being spread ont