I understand that this Government of the United States
, under which we live, is based upon this principle; and I am misunderstood if it is supposed that I have any war to make upon that principle.
Now, what is Judge Douglas
's Popular Sovereignty?
It is, as a principle, no other than that, if one man chooses to make a slave of another man, neither that other man nor any body else has a right to object.
Applied in Government, as he seeks to apply it, it is this: If, in a new Territory into which a few people are beginning to enter for the purpose of making their homes, they choose to either exclude slavery from their limits, or to establish it there, however one or the other may affect the persons to be enslaved, or the infinitely greater number of persons who are afterward to inhabit that Territory, or the other members of the families of communities.
of which they are but an incipient member, or the general head of the family of States as parent of all-however their action may affect one or the other of these, there is no power or right to interfere.
That is Douglas
's popular sovereignty applied.
He has a good deal of trouble with popular sovereignty.
His explanations explanatory of explanations explained are interminable.
The most lengthy, and, as I suppose: the most maturely considered of his long series of explanations, is his great essay in Harper
I will not attempt to enter on any very thorough investigation of his argument, as there made and presented.
I will nevertheless occupy a good portion of your time here in drawing your attention to certain points in it. Such of you as may have rend this document will have perceived that the Judge
, early in the document, quotes from two persons as belonging to the Republican party, without naming them, but who can readily be recognized as being Gov. Seward
of New York and myself: It is true, that exactly fifteen months ago this day, I believe, I for the first time expressed a sentiment upon this subject, and in such manner that it should get into print, that the public might see it beyond the circle of my hearers; and my expression of it at that time is the quotation that Judge Douglas
He has not made the quotation with accuracy, but justice to him requires me to say that it is sufficiently accurate not to change its sense.
The sense of that quotation condensed is this — that this slavery element is a durable element of discord among us, and that we shall probably not have perfect peace in this country with it until it either masters the free principle in our Government, or is so far mastered by the free principle as for the public mind to rest in the belief that it is going to its end. This sentiment, which I now express in this way, was, at no great distance of time, perhaps in different language, and in connection with some collateral ideas, expressed by Gov. Seward
. Judge Douglas
has been so much annoyed by the expression of that sentiment that he has constantly, I believe, in almost all his speeches since it was uttered, been referring to it. I find he alluded to it in his speech here, as well as in the copy-right essay.
I do not now enter upon this for the purpose of making an elaborate argument to show that me were right in the expression of that sentiment.
In other words, I shall not stop to say all that might properly be said upon this point; but I only ask your attention to it for the purpose of making one or two point upon it.
If you will read the copy-right essay, you will discover that Judge Douglas
himself says a controversy between the American Colonies
and the Government
of Great Britain
began on the slavery question in 1699, and continued from that time until the Revolution; and, while he did not say so, we all know that it has continued with more or less violence ever since the Revolution.
Then we need not appeal to history, to the declarations of the framers of the Government
, but me know from Judge Douglas
himself that slavery began to be an clement of discord among the white people of this country as far back as 1699, or one hundred and sixty years ago, or five generations of men-counting thirty years to a generation.
Now it would seem to me that it might have occurred to Judge Douglas
, or any body who had turned his attention to these facts, that there was something in the nature of that thing, slavery, somewhat durable for mischief and discord.