in that, case they came square up and indorsed the great principle of the Kansas
bill, which declared that Kansas
should be received into the Union
, with slavery or without, as its Constitution should prescribe.
I was the more rejoiced at the action of the Republicans on that occasion for another reason.
I could not forget, you will not soon forget, how unanimous that party was, in 1854, in declaring that never should another slave State be admitted into this Union under any circumstances whatever, and yet we find that during this last winter they came up and voted to a man declaring that Kansas
should come in as a State with slavery under the Lecompton Constitution
, if her people desired it, and that if they did not that they might form a new Constitution, with slavery or without just as they pleased.
I do not question the motive when men do a good act ; I give them credit for the act; and if they will stand by that principle in the future, and abandon their heresy of “no more slave States even if the people want them,” I will then give them still more credit.
I am afraid, though, that they will not stand by it in the future.
If they do; I will freely forgive them all the abuse they heaped upon me in 1854, for having advocated and carried out that same principle in the Kansas
stands proudly forward as a State which early took her position in favor of the principle of popular sovereignty as applied to the Territories
of the United States
When the compromise measure of 1850 passed, predicated upon that principle, you recollect, the excitement which prevailed throughout the northern portion of this State.
I vindicated those measures then, and defended myself for having voted for them, upon the ground that they embodied the principle that every people ought to have the privilege of forming and regulating their own institutions to suit themselves — that each State had that right, and I saw no reason why it should not be extended to the Territories
When the people of Illinois
had an opportunity of passing judgment upon those measures, they indorsed them by a vote of their representatives in the Legislature--sixty-one in the affirmative and only four in the negative — in which they asserted that the principle embodied in the measures was the birthright of freemen, the gift of Heaven, a principle vindicated by our revolutionary fathers, and that no limitation should ever be placed upon it, either in the organization of a Territorial Government, or the admission of a State into the Union
That resolution still stands unrepealed on the journals of the Legislature of Illinois
In obedience to it, and in exact conformity with the principle, I brought in the Kansas
bill, requiring that the people should be left perfectly free in the formation of their institutions, and in the organization of their Government.
I now submit to you whether I have not in good faith redeemed that pledge, that the people of Kansas
should be left perfectly free to form and regulate their institutions to suit themselves.
And yet, while no man can arise in any crowd and deny that I have been faithful to my principles, and redeemed my pledge, we find those who are struggling to crush and defeat me, for the very reason that I have been faithful in carrying out those measures.
We find the Republican
lenders forming an alliance with professed Lecompton
men to defeat every Democratic nominee and elect Republicans in their places, and aiding and defending them in order to help them break down Anti-Lecompton
men, whom they acknowledge did right in their opposition to Lecompton
The only hope that Mr. Lincoln
has of defeating me for the Senate rests in the fact, that I was faithful to my principles, and that he may be able in consequence of that fact to form a coalition with Lecompton
men, who wish to defeat me for that fidelity.
This is one clement of strength upon which he relics to accomplish his object.
He hopes he can secure the few men claiming to be friends of the Lecompton Constitution
, and for that reason you will find he does not say a word against the Lecompton Constitution
or its supporters.
He is as silent as the grave upon that subject.
Behold Mr. Lincoln
votes, in order that he may go to the Senate as the representative of Republican principles!
You know that the alliance exists.
I think you will find that it will ooze out before the contest is over.