organization; bring over Minnesota
by a close vote; and swell their majority in Ohio
to fully 20,000.
They were beaten in Indiana
on the State
ticket by a very slender majority, but carried seven of the eleven Representatives in Congress, beside helping elect an anti-Lecompton Democrat in another district; while Michigan
, and Wisconsin
, chose Republican tickets — as of late had been usual with them — by respectable majorities, and the last named by one increased to nearly 6,000. California
still adhered to Democracy of the most pro-Slavery type, by decisive majorities.
was this year the arena of a peculiar contest.
had taken so prominent and so efficient a part in the defeat of the Lecompton abomination, that a number of the leading Republicans of other States were desirous that their Illinois
brethren should unite in choosing a Legislature pledged to return him, by a vote substantially unanimous, to the seat he had so ably filled.
But it was hardly in human nature that those thus appealed to should, because of one good act, recognize and treat as a friend one whom they had known for nearly twenty years as the ablest, most indefatigable, and by no means the most scrupulous, of their adversaries.
They held a sort of State Convention, therefore, and presented Abraham Lincoln
as a Republican competitor for Mr. Douglas
's seat; and he opened the canvass at once,1
in a terse, forcible, and thoroughly “radical” speech, wherein he enunciated the then startling, if not absolutely novel, doctrine that the Union cannot permanently endure half Slave and half Free
. Said Mr. Lincoln
If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to Slavery agitation.
Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented.
In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I believe this Government cannot permanently endure half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect that it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
Either the opponents of Slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new--North as well as South.
This almost prophetic statement, from one born in Kentucky
, and who had been known, prior to the appearance of the Dred Scott
decision, as a rather conservative Whig, was put forth, more than four months before Gov. Seward
as if under a like pre-monition of coming events, said:
These antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer contact, and collision results.
Shall I tell you what this collision means?
They who think that it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefore ephemeral, mistake the case altogether.
It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces; and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slave-holding nation, or entirely a free-labor nation.
Either the cotton and rice-fields of South Carolina and the sugar plantations of Louisiana will ultimately be tilled by free labor, and Charleston and New Orleans become marts for legitimate merchandise alone, or else the rye-fields and wheat-fields of Massachusetts