election a majority of the people of Kansas
shall vote for the acceptance of the Congressional proposition, Kansas
from that moment becomes a State of the Union
, the law admitting her becomes irrepealable, and thus the controversy terminates forever; if, on the other hand, the people of Kansas
shall vote down that proposition, as it is now generally admitted they will, by a large majority, then from that instant the Lecompton Constitution
, dead beyond the power of resurrection, and thus the controversy terminates.
And when the monster shall die I shall be willing, and trust that all of you will be willing, to acquiesce in the death of the Lecompton Constitution
The controversy may now be considered as terminated, for in three weeks from now it will be finally settled, and all the ill-feeling, all the embittered feeling which grew out of it shall cease, unless an attempt should be made in the future to repeat the same outrage upon popular rights.
I need not tell you that my past course is a sufficient guarantee that if the occasion shall ever arise again while I occupy a seat in the United States Senate, you will find me carrying out the same principle that I have this winter, with all the energy and all the power I may be able to command.
I have the gratification of saying to you that I do not believe that that controversy will ever arise again ; first, because the fate of Lecompton
is a warning
to the people of every Territory and of every State to be cautious how the example is repeated; and secondly, because the President
of the United States
, in his annual message, has said that he trusts the example in the Minnesota
case, wherein Congress passed a law, called an enabling act, requiring the Constitution
to be submitted to the people for acceptance or rejection, will be followed in all future cases. [ “That was right.” ] I agree with you that it was right.
I said so on the day after the message was delivered, in my speech in the Senate on the Lecompton Constitution
, and I have frequently in the debate tendered to the President
and his friends, tendered to the Lecomptonites, my voluntary pledge that if he will stand by that recommendation, and they will stand by it, that they will find me working hand in hand with them in the effort to carry it out. All we have to do, therefore, is to adhere firmly in the future as we have done in the past, to the principle contained in the recommendation of the President
in his annual message, that the example in the Minnesota
case shall be carried out in all future cases of the admission of Territories into the Union
Let that be done and the principle of popular sovereignty will be maintained in all of its vigor and all of its integrity.
I rejoice to know that Illinois
stands prominently and proudly forward among the States which first took their position firmly and immovably upon this principle of popular sovereignty, applied to the Territories
as well as to the States.
You all recollect when in 1850 the peace of the country was disturbed in consequence of the agitation of the slavery question, and the effort to force the Wilmot Proviso
upon all the Territories
, that it required all the talent and all the energy, all the wisdom, all the patriotism, of a Clay and a Webster, united with other great party leaders, to devise a system of measures by which peace and harmony could be restored to our distracted country.
Those compromise measures eventually passed and mere recorded on the statute book, not only as the settlement of the then existing difficulties, but as furnishing a rule of action which should prevent in all future time the recurrence of like evils, if they were firmly and fairly carried out. Those compromise measures rested, as I said in my speech at Chicago
, on my return home that year, upon the principle that every people ought to have the right to form and regulate their own domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution
They were founded upon the principle that, while every State possessed that right under the Constitution
, that the same right ought to be extended to and exercised by the people of the Territories
When the Illinois Legislature assembled, a few months after the adoption of these measures, the first thing the members did was to review their action upon this slavery agitation, and to correct the errors into which their predecessors had fallen.
You remember that their first act was to repeal the Wilmot Proviso
instructions to our U. S. Senators
, which had been previously passed, and in lieu of them to record another