This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 Court decisions, I commend it to Judge Douglas's earnest consideration. I know of no man in the State of Illinois who ought to know so well about how much villainy it takes to oppose a decision of the Supreme Court as our honorable friend, Stephen A. Douglas. Judge Douglas also makes the declaration that I say the Democrats are bound by the Dred Scott decision, while the Republicans are not. In the sense to which he argues, I never said it ; but I will tell you what I have said and what I do not hesitate to repeat to-day. I have said that, as the Democrats believe that decision to be correct, and that the extension of slavery is affirmed in the National Constitution, they are bound to support it as such ; and I will tell you here that General Jackson once said each man was bound to support the Constitution “as he understood it.” Now Judge Douglas understands the Constitution according to the Dred Scott decision, and he is bound to support it as he understands it. I understand it another way, and therefore I am bound to support it in the way in which I understand it. And as Judge Douglas believes that decision to be correct, I will remake that argument if I have time to do so. Let me talk to some gentleman down there among you who looks me in the face. We will say you arc a member of the Territorial Legislature, and like Judge Douglas, you believe that. the right to take and hold slaves there is a Constitutional right. The first thing you do, is to swear you will support the Constitution and all rights guaranteed therein; that you will, whenever your neighbor needs your legislation to support his Constitutional rights, not withhold that legislation. If you withhold that necessary legislation for the support of the Constitution and Constitutional rights, do you not commit perjury? I ask every sensible man, if that is not so? That is undoubtedly just so, say what you please. Now, that is precisely what Judge Douglas says, that this is a Constitutional right. Does the Judge mean to say that the Territorial Legislature in legislating may, by withholding necessary laws, or by passing unfriendly laws, nullify that Constitutional right? Does he mean to say that? Does he mean to ignore the proposition so long and well established in law, that what you cannot do directly, you cannot do indirectly? Does he mean that? The truth about the matter is this: Judge Douglas has sung paeans to his “Popular Sovereignty” doctrine until his Supreme Court, co-operating with him, has squatted his Squatter Sovereignty out. But he will keep up this species of humbuggery about Squatter Sovereignty. He has at last invented this sort of do-nothing Sovereignty --that the people may exclude slavery by a sort of “Sovereignty” that is exercised by doing nothing at all. Is not that running his Popular Sovereignty down awfully? Has it not got down as thin as the homoeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death? But at last, when it is brought to the test, of close reasoning, there is not even that thin decoction of it left; It is a presumption impossible in the domain of thought. It is precisely no other than the putting of that most unphilosophical proposition, that two bodies can occupy the same space at the same time. The Dred Scott decision covers the whole ground, and while it occupies it, there is no room even for the shadow of a starved pigeon to occupy the same ground. Judge Douglas, in reply to what I have said about having upon a previous occasion made the speech at Ottawa as the one he took an extract from, at Charleston, says it only shows that I practiced the deception twice. Now, my friends, are any of you obtuse enough to swallow that? Judge Douglas had said I had made a speech at Charleston that I would not make up north, and I turned around and answered him by showing I had made that same speech up north-had made it, at Ottawa-made it in his hearing-made it in the Abolition District — in Lovejoy's District — in the personal presence of Lovejoy himself — in the same atmosphere exactly in which I had made my Chicago speech, of which he complains so much. Now, in relation to my not having said any thing about the quotation from the Chicago speech: He thinks that is a terrible subject for me to handle. Why, gentlemen, I can show you that the substance of the Chicago speech I delivered two years
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.