Doc. 11.-Senator Douglas's last letter.
Chicago, May 10.My dear sir: Being deprived of the use of my arms for the present by a severe attack of rheumatism, I am compelled to avail myself of the services of an amanuensis, in reply to your two letters. It seems that some of my friends are unable to comprehend the difference between arguments used in favor of an equitable compromise, with the hope of averting the horrors of war, and those urged in support of the government and the flag of our country, when war is being waged against the United States, with the avowed purpose pose of producing a permanent disruption of the Union and a total destruction of its government. All hope of compromise with the cotton states was abandoned when they assumed the position that the separation of the Union was complete and final, and that they would never consent to a reconstruction in any contingency--not even if we would furnish them with a blank sheet of paper and permit them to inscribe their own terms. Still the hope was cherished that reasonable and satisfactory terms of adjustment could be agreed upon with Tennessee, North Carolina, and the border States, and that whatever terms would prove satisfactory to these loyal States would create a Union party in the cotton states which would be powerful enough at the ballot box to destroy the revolutionary government, and bring those States back into the Union by the voice of their own people. This hope was cherished by the Union men North and South, and was never abandoned until actual war was levied at Charleston, and the authoritative announcement made by the revolutionary government at Montgomery that the secession flag should be planted upon the walls of the Capitol at Washington, and a proclamation issued inviting the pirates of the world to prey upon the commerce of the United States. These startling facts, in connection with the boastful announcement that the ravages of war and carnage should be quickly transferred from the cotton fields of the South to the wheat fields and corn fields of the North, furnish conclusive evidence that it was the fixed purpose of the secessionists utterly to destroy the government of our fathers and obliterate the United States from the map of the world. In view of this state of facts there was but one path of duty left to patriotic men. It was not a party question, nor a question involving partisan policy; it was a question of government or no government; country or no country; and hence it became the imperative duty of every Union man, every friend of constitutional liberty, to rally to the support of our common country, its government and flag, as the only means of checking the progress of revolution and of preserving the Union of States. I am unable to answer your questions in respect to the policy of Mr. Lincoln and cabinet. I am not in their confidence, as you and the whole country ought to be aware. I am neither the supporter of the partisan policy nor the apologist of the errors of the Administration. My previous relations to them remain unchanged; but I trust the time will never come when I shall not be willing to make any needful sacrifice of personal feeling and party policy for the honor and integrity of the country. I know of no mode in which a loyal citizen may so well demonstrate his devotion to his country as by sustaining the flag, the constitution, and the Union, under all circumstances, and under every Administration, regardless of party politics, against all assailants, at home and abroad. The course of Clay and Webster towards the administration of Jackson, in the days of nullification, presents a noble and worthy example for all true patriots. At the very moment when that fearful crisis was precipitated upon the country, partisan strife between Whigs and Democrats was quite as bitter and relentless as now between Democrats and Republicans. The gulf which separated party leaders in those days was quite as broad and deep as that which now separates the Democracy from the Republicans. But the moment an enemy rose in our midst, plotting the dismemberment of the Union and the destruction of the Government, the voice of partisan strife was hushed in patriotic silence. One of the brightest chapters in the history of our country will record the fact that during this eventful period the great leaders of the opposition, sinking the partisan in the patriot, rushed to the support of the Government, and became its ablest and bravest defenders against all assailants until the conspiracy was crushed and abandoned, when they resumed their former positions as party leaders upon political issues. These acts of patriotic devotion have never been deemed evidences of infidelity or political treachery, on the part of Clay and Webster, to the principles and organization of the old Whig party. Nor have I any apprehension that the firm and unanimous support which the Democratic leaders and masses are now giving to the Constitution and the Union will ever be deemed evidence of infidelity to Democratic principles, or a want of loyalty to the organization and creed of the Democratic party. If we hope to regain and perpetuate the ascendency of our party, we should never forget that a man cannot be a true Democrat unless he is a loyal patriot. With the sincere hope that these, my conscientious convictions, may coincide with those of my friends, I am, very truly, yours,