There is another point I desire to make in regard to this matter, before I leave it. From the adoption of the Constitution
down to 1820 is the precise period of our history when we had comparative peace upon this question — the precise period of time when we came nearer to having peace about it than any other time of that entire one hundred and sixty years, in which he says it began, or of the eighty years of our own Constitution.
Then it would be worth our while to stop and examine into the probable reason of our coming nearer to having peace then than at any other time.
This was the precise period of time in which our fathers adopted, and during which they followed, a policy restricting the spread of slavery, and the whole Union was acquiescing in it. The whole country looked forward to the ultimate extinction of the institution.
It was when a policy had been adopted and was prevailing, which led all just and right-minded men to suppose that slavery was gradually coming to an end, and that they might be quiet about it, watching it as it expired.
I think Judge Douglas
might have perceived that too, and whether he did or not, it is worth the attention of fair-minded men, here and elsewhere, to consider whether that is not the truth of the case.
If he had looked at these two facts, that this matter has been an element of discord for one hundred and sixty years among this people, and that the only comparative peace we have had about it was when that policy prevailed in this Government, which he now wars upon, he might then, perhaps, have been brought to a more just appreciation of what I said fifteen months ago — that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe that this Government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the house to fall.
I do not expect the Union
to dissolve ; 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 mill rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, until it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, north as well as south.”
That was my sentiment at that time.
In connection with it, I said, “we are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was inaugurated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation.
Under the operation of the policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented.”
I now say to you here that we are advanced still farther into the sixth year since that policy of Judge Douglas
--that Popular Sovereignty of his, for quieting the slavery question — was made the national policy.
Fifteen months more have been added since I uttered that sentiment, and I call upon you, and all other right-minded men, to say whether that fifteen months have belied or corroborated my words.
While I am here upon this subject, I cannot but express gratitude that this true view of this element of discord among us — as I believe it is — is attracting more and more attention.
I do not believe that Gov. Seward
uttered that sentiment because I had done so before, but because he reflected upon this subject and saw the truth of it. Nor do I believe, because Gov. Seward
or I uttered it, that, Mr. Hickman
, in different language since that time, has declared his belief in the utter antagonism which exists between.
the principles of liberty and slavery.
You see we are multiplying.
Now, while I am speaking of Hickman
, let me say, I know but little about him. I have never seen him, and know scarcely any thing about the man ; but I will say this much of him : Of all the anti-Lecompton Democracy that have been brought to my notice, he alone has the true, genuine ring of the metal.
And now, without indorsing any thing else he has said, I will ask this audience to give three cheers for Hickman
[The audience responded with three rousing cheers for Hickman
.] Another point in the copy-right essay to which I would ask your attention, is rather a feature to be extracted from the whole thing, than from any express declaration of it at any point.
It is a general feature of that document, and indeed, of all of Judge Douglas
's discussions of this question, that the Territories
of the United States
and the States of this Union are exactly alikethat