controlling of property means the controlling of it for the benefit of the owner of it. While I have no doubt.
the Supreme Court of the United States
would say “God speed” to any of the Territorial Legislatures
that should thus control slave property, they would sing quite a different tune, if by the pretense of controlling it they were to undertake to pass laws which virtually excluded it., and that upon a very well known principle to all lawyers, that what a Legislature cannot directly do, it cannot do by indirection ; that as the Legislature has not the power to drive slaves out, they have no power by indirection, by tax, or by imposing burdens in any way on that property, to effect the same end, and that any attempt to do so would be held by the Dred Scott court
is not willing to stand by his first proposition that they can exclude it, because we have seen that that proposition amounts to nothing more nor less than the naked absurdity, that you may lawfully drive out that which has a lawful right to remain.
He admitted at first that the slave might be lawfully taken into the Territories
under the Constitution of the United States
, and yet asserted that he might be lawfully driven out. That being the proposition, it is the absurdity I have stated.
He is not willing to stand in the face of that.
direct, naked and impudent absurdity ; he has, therefore, modified his language into that of being “controlled as other property.
don't like this in Douglas
I will tell you where it will go. He now swears by the court.
He was once a leading man in Illinois
to break down a court, because it had made a decision he did not like.
But be now not only swears by the court, the courts having got to working for you, but he denounces all men that do not swear by the courts, as unpatriotic, as bad citizens.
When one of these acts of unfriendly legislation shall impose such heavy burdens as to, in effect, destroy property in slaves in a Territory and show plainly enough that there can be no mistake in the purpose of the Legislature to make them so burdensome, this same Supreme Court will decide that law to be unconstitutional, and he will be ready to say for your benefit, “I swear by the court ; I give it up” and while that is going on he has been getting all his men to swear by the courts, and to give it up with him. In this again he serves you faithfully, and as I say, more wisely than you serve yourselves.
Again : I have alluded in the beginning of these remarks to the fact, that Judge Douglas
has made great complaint of my having expressed the opinion that this Government “cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.”
He has complained of Seward
for using different language, and declaring that there is an “irrepressible conflict” between the principles of free and slave labor.
[A voice--“He says it is not original with Seward
That is original with Lincoln
.” ] I will attend to that immediately, sir. Since that time, Hickman
expressed the same sentiment.
He has never denounced Mr. Hickman
There is a little chance, notwithstanding that opinion in the mouth of Hickman
, that he may yet be a Douglas man. That is the difference!
It is not unpatriotic to hold that opinion, if a man is a Douglas man.
But neither I nor Seward
, nor Hickman
, is entitled to the enviable or unenviable distinction of having first expressed that idea.
That same idea was expressed by the Richmond Enquirer
, in 1856; quite two years before it was expressed by the first of us. And while Douglas
was pluming himself; that in his conflict with my humble self; last year, he had “squelched out” that fatal heresy, as he delighted to call it, and had suggested that if he only had had a chance to be in New York and meet Seward
he would have “squelched” it there also, it never occurred to him to breathe a word against Pryor
I don't think that you can discover that Douglas
ever talked of going to Virginia
to “squelch” out that idea there.
No. More than that.
That same Roger A. Pryor
was brought to Washington City
and made the editor of the par excellence Douglas
paper, after making use of that expression, which, in us, is so unpatriotic and heretical.
From all this, my Kentucky
friends may see that this opinion is heretical in his view only when it is expressed by men