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[260] you question this, listen awhile, consider awhile, what I shall advance in support of that proposition.

He says that it is the sacred right of the man who goes into the Territories, to have slavery if he wants it. Grant that for argument's sake. Is it not the sacred right of the man who dont go there equally to buy slaves in Africa, if he wants them? Can you point out the difference? The man who goes into the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, or any other new Territory, with the sacred right of taking a slave there which belongs to him, would certainly have no more right to take one there than I would, who own no slave, but who would desire to buy one and take him there. You will not say-you, the friends of Judge Douglas-but that the man who does not own a slave, has an equal right to buy one and take him to the Territory, as the other does?

A voice-“I want to ask a question. Don't foreign nations interfere with the slave-trade?”

Mr. Lincoln-Well! I understand it to be a principle of Democracy to whip foreign nations whenever they interfere with us.

Voice-“I only asked for information. I am a Republican myself.”

Mr. Lincoln-You and I will be on the best terms in the world, but I do not wish to be diverted from the point I was trying to press.

I say that Douglas's Popular Sovereignty, establishing his sacred right in the people, if you please, if carried to its logical conclusion, gives equally the sacred right to the people of the States or the Territories themselves to buy slaves, wherever they can buy them cheapest ; and if any man can show a distinction, I should like to hear him try it. If any man can show how the people of Kansas have a better right to slaves because they want them, than the people of Georgia have to buy them in Africa, I want him to do it. I think it cannot be done. If it is “Popular Sovereignty” for the people to have slaves because they want them, it is Popular Sovereignty for them to buy them in Africa, because they desire to do so.

I know that Douglas has recently made a little effort — not seeming to notice that he had a different theory — has made an effort to get rid of that. He has written a letter, addressed to somebody I believe who resides in Iowa, declaring his opposition to the repeal of the laws that prohibit the African slave-trade. He bases his opposition to such repeal upon the ground that these laws are themselves one of the compromises of the Constitution of the United States. Now it would be very interesting to see Judge Douglas or any of his friends turn to the Constitution of the United States and point out that compromise, to show where there is any compromise in the Constitution, or provision in the Constitution, express or implied, by which the administrators of that Constitution are under any obligation to repeal the African slave-trade. I know, or at least I think I know, that the framers of that Constitution did expect that the African slave-trade would be abolished at the end of twenty years, to which time their prohibition against its being abolished extended. I think there is abundant contemporaneous history to show that the framers of the Constitution expected it to be abolished. But while they so expected, they gave nothing for that expectation, and they put no provision in the Constitution requiring it should be so abolished. The migration or importation of such persons as the States shall see fit to admit shall not be prohibited, but a certain tax might be levied upon such importation. But what was to be done after that time? The Constitution is as silent about that as it is silent, personally, about myself. There is absolutely nothing in it about that subject — there is only the expectation of the framers of the Constitution that the slave-trade would be abolished at the end of that time, and they expected it would be abolished, owing to public sentiment, before that time, and they put that provision in, in order that it should not be abolished before that time, for reasons which I suppose they thought to be sound ones, but which I will not now try to enumerate before you.

But while they expected the slave-trade would be abolished at that time, they expected that the spread of slavery into the new Territories should also be restricted.

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