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Now, Mr. Lincoln says that he will not enter into Kentucky to abolish slavery there, but that all he will do is to fight slavery in Kentucky from Illinois. He will not go over there to set fire to the match. I do not think he would. Mr. Lincoln is a very prudent man. He would not deem it wise to go over into Kentucky to stir up this strife, but he would do it from this side of the river. Permit me to inquire whether the wrong, the outrage of interference by one Slate with the local concerns of another, is worse when you actually invade them than it would be if you carried on the warfare from another State? For the purpose of illustration, suppose the British Government should plant a battery on the Niagara river opposite Buffalo and throw their shells over into Buffalo, where they should explode and blow up the houses and destroy the town. We call the British Government to an account, and they say, in the language of Mr. Lincoln, we did not enter into the limits of the United States to interfere with you; we planted the battery on our own soil, and had a right to shoot from our own soil, and if our shells and ball fell in Buffalo and killed your inhabitants, why, it is your look-out, not ours. Thus, Mr. Lincoln is going to plant his Abolition batteries all along the banks of the Ohio river, and throw his shells into Virginia and Kentucky and into Missouri, and blow up the institution of slavery, and when we arraign him for his unjust interference with the institutions of the other States, he says, “Why, I never did enter into Kentucky to interfere with her ; I do not propose to do it; I only propose to take care of my own head by keeping on this side of the river, out of harm's way.” But yet, he says he is going to persevere in this system of sectional warfare, and I have no doubt he is sincere in what he says. He says that the existence of the Union depends upon his success in firing into these slave States until he exterminates them. He says that unless he shall play his batteries successfully, so as to abolish slavery in every one of the States, that the Union shall be dissolved; and he says that a dissolution of the Union would be a terrible calamity. Of course it would. We are all friends of the Union. We all believe — I do — that our lives, our liberties, our hopes in the future depend upon the preservation and perpetuity of this glorious Union. I believe that the hopes of the friends of liberty throughout the world depend upon the perpetuity of the American Union. But while I believe that my mode of preserving the Union is a very different one from that of Mr. Lincoln, I believe that the Union can only be preserved by maintaining inviolate the Constitution of the United States as our fathers have made it. That Constitution guarantees to the people of every State the right to have slavery or not have it; to have negroes or not have them ; to have Maine liquor laws or not have them; to have just such institutions as they choose, each State being left free to decide for itself. The framers of that Constitution never conceived the idea that uniformity in the domestic institutions of the different States was either desirable or possible. They well understood that the laws and institutions which would be well adapted to the granite hills of New Hampshire would be unfit for the rice plantations of South Carolina; they well understood that each one of the thirteen States had distinct and separate interests, and required distinct and separate local laws and local institutions. And in view of that fact they provided that each State should retain its sovereign power within its own limits, with the right to make just such laws and just such institutions as it saw proper, under the belief that no two of them would be alike. If they had supposed that uniformity was desirable and possible, why did they provide for a separate Legislature for each State? Why did they not blot out State sovereignty and State Legislatures, and give all the power to Congress, in order that the laws might be uniform? For the very reason that uniformity, in their opinion, was neither desirable or possible. We have increased from thirteen States to thirty-two States, and just in proportion as the number of States increases and our territory expands, there will be a still greater variety and dissimilarity of climate, of production and of interest, requiring a corresponding dissimilarity and variety in the local laws and institutions adapted thereto. The laws that are necessary in the mining regions of California, would be totally useless and vicious on the prairies of Illinois ; the laws that would suit the lumber regions of Maine or of Minnesota, would be totally useless

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Abraham Lincoln (5)
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