You have a good illustration of this in the territorial history of this State.
You all remember that by the Ordinance of 1787, slavery was prohibited in Illinois
, yet you all know, particularly you old settlers, who were here in territorial times, that the Territorial Legislature, in defiance of that Ordinance, passed a law allowing you to go into Kentucky
, buy slaves' and bring them into the Territory
, having them sign indentures to serve you and your posterity ninety-nine years, and their posterity thereafter to do the same.
This hereditary slavery was introduced in defiance of the act of Congress.
That was the exercise of popular sovereignty, the right of a Territory to decide the question for itself in defiance of the act of Congress.
On the other hand, if the people of a Territory are hostile to slavery they will drive it out. Consequently this theoretical question raised upon the Dred Scott
decision, is worthy of no consideration whatsoever, for it is only brought into these political discussions and used as a hobby upon which to ride into office, or out of which to manufacture political capital.
But Mr. Lincoln
's main objection to the Dred Scott
decision I have reserved for my conclusion.
His principal objection to that decision is that it was intended to deprive the negro of the rights of citizenship in the different States of the Union
Well, suppose it was, and there is no doubt that that was its legal effect, what is his objection to it?
Why, he thinks that a negro ought to be permitted to have the rights of citizenship.
He is in favor of negro citizenship, and opposed to the Dred Scott
decision, because it declares that a negro is not a citizen, and hence is not entitled to vote.
Here I have a direct issue with Mr. Lincoln
I am not in favor of negro citizenship.
I do not, believe that a negro is a citizen or ought-to be a citizen.
I believe that this Government of ours was founded, and wisely founded, upon the white basis.
It was made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity, to be executed and managed by white men. I freely concede that humanity requires us to extend all the protection, all the privileges, all the immunities, to the Indian
and the negro which they are capable of enjoying consistent with the safety of society.
You may then ask me what are those rights, what is the nature and extent of the rights which a negro ought to have?
My answer is that this is a question for each State and each Territory to decide for itself.
we have decided that a negro is not a slave, but we have at the same time determined that he is not a citizen and shall not enjoy any political rights.
I concur in the wisdom of that policy and am content with it. I assert that the sovereignty of Illinois
had a right to determine that question as we have decided it, and I deny that any other State has a right to interfere with us or call us to account for that decision.
In the State of Maine
they have decided by their Constitution that the negro shall exercise the elective franchise and hold office on an equality with the white man. Whilst I do not concur in the good sense or correct taste of that decision on the part of Maine
, I have no disposition to quarrel with her. It is her business and not ours.
If the people of Maine
desire to be put on an equality with the negro, I do not know that anybody in this State will attempt to prevent it. If the white people of Maine
think a negro their equal, and that he has a right to come and kill their vote by a negro vote, they have a right to think so, I suppose, and I have no disposition to interfere with them.
Then, again, passing over to New York, we find in that State they have provided that a negro may vote provided he holds $250 worth of property, but that he shall not unless he does; that is to say, they will allow a negro to vote if he is rich, but a poor fellow they will not allow to vote.
In New York they think a rich negro is equal to a white man. Well, that is a matter of taste with them.
If they think so in that State, and do not carry the doctrine outside of it and propose to interfere with us, I have no quarrel to make with them.
It is their business.
There is a great, deal of philosophy and good sense in a saying of Fridley of Kane
Fridley had a law suit before a justice of the peace, and the justice decided it against him. This he did not like, and standing up