Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
old green mountains and valleys of Vermont, where I was born, and where I played in my childhood. I went up to visit them some seven or eight years ago, for the first time for twenty odd years. When I got there they treated me very kindly. They invited me to the commencement of their college, placed me on the seats with their distinguished guests, and conferred upon me the degree of LL. D., in Latin (doctor of laws),the same as they did Old Hickory, at Cambridge, many years ago; and I give you my word and honor I understand just as much of the Latin as he did. When they got through conferring the honorary degree, they called upon me for a speech; and I got up, with my heart full and swelling with gratitude for their kindness, and I said to them, My friends, Vermont is the most glorious spot on the face of this globe for a man to be born in, provided he emigrates when he is very young.
I emigrated when I was very young. I came out here when I was a boy, and I found my mind liberalized, and my opinions enlarged, when I got on these broad prairies, with only the heavens to bound my vision, instead of having them circumscribed by the little narrow ridges that surrounded the valley where I was born. But I discard all flings of the land where a man was born. I wish to be judged by my principles, by those great public measures and constitutional principles upon which the peace, the happiness, and the perpetuity of this Republic now rest.
Mr. Lincoln has framed another question, propounded it to me, and desired my answer. As I have said before, I did not put a question to him that I did not first lay a foundation for by showing that it was a part of the platform of the party whose votes he is now seeking, adopted in a majority of the counties where he now hopes to get a majority, and supported by the candidates of his party now running in those counties. But I will answer his question. It is as follows: If the slaveholding citizens of a United States Territory should need and demand Congressional legislation for the protection of their slave property in such Territory, would you, as a member of Congress, vote for or against such legislation? I answer him that it is a fundamental article in the Democratic creed that there should be non-interference and non-intervention by Congress with slavery