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[109]

Article 7, Section 1. The right of property is before and higher than any constitutional sanction ; and the right of the owner of a slave to such slave and its increase is the same and as invariable as the right of the owner of any property whatever.

Then in the schedule is a provision that the Constitution may be amended after 1864 by a two-thirds vote.

But no alteration shall be made to affect the right of property in the ownership of slaves.

It will be seen by these clauses in the Lecompton Constitution that they are identical in spirit with this authoritative article in the Washington Union of the day previous to its indorsement of this Constitution.

When I saw that article in the Union of the 17th of November, followed by the glorification of the Lecompton Constitution on the 18th of November, and this clause in the Constitution asserting the doctrine that a State has no right to prohibit slavery within its limits, I saw that there was a fatal blow being struck at the sovereignty of the States of this Union.

Here he says, “Mr. President, you here find several distinct propositions advanced boldly, and apparently authoritatively.” By whose authority, Judge Douglas? Again, he says in another place, “It will be seen by these clauses in the Lecompton Constitution, that they are identical in spirit with this authoritative article.” By whose authority? Who do you mean to say authorized the publication of these articles? He knows that the Washington Union is considered the organ of the Administration. I demand of Judge Douglas by whose authority he meant to say those articles were published, if not by the authority of the President of the United States and his Cabinet? I defy him to show whom he referred to, if not to these high functionaries in the Federal Government. More than this, he says the articles in that paper and the provisions of the Lecompton Constitution are “identical,” and being identical, he argues that the authors are co-operating and conspiring together. He does not use the word “conspiring,” but what other construction can you put upon it? He winds up with this:

When I saw that article in the Union of the 17th of November, followed by the glorification of the Lecompton Constitution on the 18th of November, and this clause in the Constitution asserting the doctrine that, a State has no right to prohibit slavery within its limits, I saw that there was a fatal blow being struck at the sovereignty of the States of this Union.

I ask him if all this fuss was made over the editor of this newspaper. It would be a terribly “fatal blow” indeed which a single man could strike, when no President, no Cabinet officer, no member of Congress, was giving strength and efficiency to the moment. Out of respect to Judge Douglas's good sense I must believe he didn't manufacture his idea of the “fatal” character of that blow out of such a miserable scapegrace as he represents that editor to be. But the Judge's eye is farther south now. Then, it was very peculiarly and decidedly north. His hope rested on the idea of visiting the great “Black Republican” party, and making it the tail of his new kite. He knows he was then expecting from day to day to turn Republican and place himself at the head of our organization. He has found that these despised “Black Republicans” estimate him by a standard which he has taught them none too well. Hence he is crawling back into his old camp, and you will find him eventually installed in full fellowship among those whom he was then battling, and with whom he now pretends to be at such fearful variance. [Loud applause and cries of “go on, go on.” ] I cannot, gentlemen, my time has expired.

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