Fourth joint debate, at Charleston, September 18, 1858.
Ladies and Gentlemen
: It will be very difficult for an audience so large as this to hear distinctly what a speaker says, and consequently it is important that as profound silence be preserved as possible.
While I was at the hotel to-day: an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people.
While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white
races — that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office nor to intermarry with white people ; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white
races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.
And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied every thing.
I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife.
My understanding is that I can just let her alone.
I am now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never have had a black woman for either a slave or a wife.
So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along without making either slaves or wives of negroes.
I will add to this that I have never seen, to my knowledge, a man, woman or child who was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social and political, between negroes and white men. I recollect of but one distinguished instance that I ever heard of so frequently as to be entirely satisfied of its correctness-and that is the case of Judge Douglas
's old friend Col. Richard M. Johnson
I will also add to the remarks I have made (for I am not going to enter at large upon this subject), that I have never had the least apprehension that I or my friends would marry negroes if there was no law to keep them from it ; but as Judge Douglas
and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if there were no law to keep them from it, I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes.
I will add one further word, which is this: that I do not understand that there is any place where an alteration, of the social and political relations of the negro and the white man can be made except in the State Legislature--not in the Congress of the United States--and as I do not really apprehend the approach of any such thing myself, and as Judge Douglas
seems to be in constant horror that some such danger is rapidly approaching, I propose as the best means to prevent it that the Judge
be kept at home and placed in the State Legislature to fight the measure.
I do not propose dwelling longer at this time on this subject.
When Judge Trumbull
, our other Senator
in Congress, returned to Illinois
in the month of August, he made a speech at Chicago
, in which he made what may be called a charge
against Judge Douglas
, which I understand proved to be very
offensive to him. The Judge
was at that time out upon one of his speaking tours through the country, and when the news of it reached him, as I am informed, he denounced Judge Trumbull
in rather harsh terms for having said what he did in regard to that matter.
I was traveling at that time, and speaking at the same places with Judge Douglas
on subsequent days, and when I heard of what Judge Trumbull
had said of Douglas
, and what Douglas
had said back again, I felt that I was in a position where I could not remain entirely silent in regard to the matter.
Consequently, upon two or three occasions I alluded to it, and alluded to it in no otherwise than to say that in regard to the charge brought by Trumbull
, I personally
knew nothing, and sought to say nothing about it — that I did personally know Judge Trumbull
--that I believed him to be a man of veracity — that I believed him to be a man of capacity sufficient to know very well whether an assertion he was making, as a conclusion drawn from a set of facts, was true or false ; and as a conclusion of my own from that, I stated it as my belief, if Trumbull
should ever be called upon, he would prove every thing he had said.
I said this upon two or three occasions.
Upon a subsequent occasion, Judge Trumbull
spoke again before an audience at Alton
, and upon that occasion not only repeated his charge against Douglas
, but arrayed the evidence he relied upon to substantiate it. This speech was published at length ; and subsequently at Jacksonville Judge Douglas
alluded to the matter.
In the course of his speech, and near the close of it, he stated in regard to myself.
what I will now read: “Judge Douglas
proceeded to remark that he should not hereafter occupy his time in refuting such charges made by Trumbull
, but that Lincoln
having indorsed the character of Trumbull
for veracity, he should hold him (Lincoln
) responsible for the slanders.”
I have done simply what I have told you, to subject me to this invitation to notice the charge.
I now wish to say that it had not originally been my purpose to discuss that matter at all. But inasmuch as it seems to be the wish of Judge Douglas
to hold me responsible for it, then for once in my lift I will play General Jackson
, and to the just extent I take the responsibility.
I wish to say at the beginning that I will hand to the reporters that portion of Judge Trumbull
's Alton speech which was devoted to this matter, and also that portion of Judge Douglas
's speech made at Jacksonville
in answer to it. I shall thereby furnish the readers of this debate with the complete discussion between Trumbull
I cannot now read them, for the reason that it would take half of my first hour to do so. I can only make some comments upon them.
's charge is in the following words : “Now, the charge is, that.
there was a plot entered into to have a Constitution formed for Kansas
, and put in force, without giving the people an opportunity to vote upon it, and that Mr. Douglas
was in the plot.”
I will state, without quoting further, for all will have an opportunity of reading it hereafter, that Judge Trumbull
brings forward what he regards as sufficient evidence to substantiate this charge.1
It will be perceived Judge Trumbull
shows that Senator Bigler
, upon the floor of the Senate, had declared there had been a conference among the Senators
, in which conference it was determined to have an Enabling Act passed for the people of Kansas
to form a Constitution under, and in this conference it was agreed among them that it was best not to have a provision for submitting the Constitution
to a vote of the people after it should be formed.
He then brings forward to show, and showing, as he deemed, that Judge Douglas
reported the bill back to the Senate with that clause stricken out. He then shows that there was a new clause inserted into the bill, which would in its nature prevent
a reference of the Constitution
back for a vote of the people-if, indeed, upon a mere silence in the law, it could be assumed that they had the right to vote upon it. These are the general statements that he has made.
I propose to examine the points in Judge Douglas
's speech, in which he attempts to answer that speech of Judge Trumbull
's. When you come to examine Judge
's speech, you will find that the first point he makes is “Suppose it were true that there was such a change in the bill, and that I struck it out — is that a proof of a plot to force a Constitution upon them against their will?”
His striking out such a provision, if there was such a one in the bill, argues, does not establish the proof that it was stricken out for the purpose of robbing the people of that right.
I would say, in the first place, that that would be a most manifest
reason for it. It is true, as Judge Douglas
states, that many Territorial bills have passed without having such a provision in them.
I believe it is true, though I am not certain, that in some instances, Constitutions framed under such bills have been submitted to a vote of the people, with the law silent upon the subject, but it does not appear that they once had their Enabling Acts framed with an express provision for
submitting the Constitution
to be framed to a vote of the people, and then that they were stricken out when Congress did not mean to alter the effect of the law. That there have been bills which never had the provision in, I do not question ; but when was that provision taken out of one that it was in?
More especially does this evidence tend to prove the proposition that Trumbull
advanced, when we remember that the provision was stricken out of the bill almost simultaneously with the time that Bigler
says there was a conference among certain Senators
, and in which it was agreed that a bill should be passed leaving that out. Judge Douglas
, in answering Trumbull
, omits to attend to the testimony of Bigler
, that there was a meeting in which it was agreed they should so frame the bill that there should be no submission of the Constitution
to a vote of the people.
does not notice this part of it. If you take this as one piece of evidence, and then ascertain that simultaneously Judge Douglas
struck out a provision that did require it to be submitted, and put the two together, I think it will make a pretty fair, show of proof that Judge Douglas
did, as Trumbull
says, enter into a plot to put in force a Constitution for Kansas
without giving the people any opportunity of voting upon it.
But I must hurry on. The next proposition that Judge Douglas
puts is this: “But upon examination it turns out that the Toombs bill never did contain a clause requiring the Constitution
to be submitted.”
This is a mere question of fact, and can be determined by evidence.
I only want to ask this question-why did not